Friday, April 13, 2012

*_*

Was called in to a random strangers akhand path, for doing a raul by a Kirtan teacher i know personally.
On my way, I suddenly became more and more aware of the fact that this household/ person, etc. are complete strangers... I wanted to not show up... but couldn't go back on my word...
Suddenly got so scared as I found the address right in front of me...

Then, I walked in and saw Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaaj! All of a sudden, a strangers house felt like my sat(i)gurus nivaas. Within a matter of split seconds, all my worry & discomfort of being at a strangers place was dispelled. In fact when bowing to guru Ji, I laughed at my discomfort, worry & knew that it was pointless.

Ofcourse I didn't eat at their place LOL.

Dakhanay, Fifth Mehl:
I am so eager to see You, O Lord; what does Your face look like?
I wandered around in such a miserable state, but when I saw You, my mind was comforted and consoled. ||1||







Sunday, April 1, 2012

Shaheedi or a price to be paid for Justice?

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa  Waheguru ji Ki Fateh =)
Vaheguru Jio<3
Today, I was talking to an amazing Singhni aunty ji on Facebook about something, when I realized that I feel quite hesitant & perhaps scared, when I see how much we Sikhs are obsessed with Shaheedi. 
Some innocent questions have stirred my child-like curiosity lately: 
Is sacrifice an efficient way of being heard & for standing up for the truth? 
Are sikhs really that obsessed with shaheedi, is that justified? 
Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaaj & Guru Teg Bahadur Ji Maharaaj had all the power in the world, they could have avoided being Shaheed, why didn't they? 
Is someone's life a price enough for Justice? 
How do we measure Justice (especially in terms of shaheedi,etc.)? 
And, since I'm starting to believe that writing about something, helps me understand it better, I'm gonna do just that =), hopefully y'all will like it.
2 weeks ago, I was called into a Kids Sikhi camp to speak about topics relating to Visakhi. Obviously, I'm not a giani (Knowledgable expert). Because people organizing the camp were youth like myself & were short of speakers till the night before the camp, I decided that I can take the stab & speak to the little Sahibzaadey of Pita Ji Maharaaj (I'm gonna embed a really sweet video from kids camp, for y'all to enjoy =) I promise it'll bring a huge smile on your faces).  I was told to pick from various topics, some of which interested me quite a bit, but I decided to go with easy ones that didn't have to do with Sikh History, but could be treated as discussions with the 6-12 year olds. I told the little Singhs & Singhniya a real story (I can't prove that its real, just so you know) that I had heard in a Kaurs camp years ago.
There was a girl who wasn't into Sikhi, but her parents were, they used to tell her to chant 'Vaheguru' & do Simran, but she was never really interested. One night, she sneaks out of home, to go out with a friend, when on the way, while walking through a dark alley, she sees a scary dude walking towards her. He had a knife & a scary look on his face, which scared her to death. In this moment, she remembers how her mother always tells her to chant Vaheguru in her mind. She closes her eyes & starts doing Simran. The scary dude, who wanted to rob her & rape her (of course I didn't tell that to the kids, I just said he was gonna rob her), looks at her for a while & tries to get near her, but then for some reason walks past her, and goes to the next alley & does his misdeed with another woman. At this point, the kiddos started laughing (specially the 11-12 years old group). But I continued. The next morning, the girl goes to the jail, as she reads in the news that the dude was caught for raping & killing a girl in an alley close to where she saw him that night. She goes to him to ask him why he spared her to go just around the corner to rob, rape & kill someone else. He says that when she closed her eyes and started chanting something, 5 huge guys with turbans, beards & huge kirpaans appeared and they were gonna kill him if he came near her. At this point, I asked the kids to guess who these 5 guys were. They all screamed out "the 5 piyare"! (I was thinking Shaheed Singhs, but didn't wanna scare kids with a concept that could easily scare them & make them think something like ghosts exist, anyways, they solved my problem, or should I say Guru Ji took care of my hesitation, by getting the kids to answer it for me- 5 piyare... not scary at all! I went along with that). So the point I then made, was that every time we do simran, Guru Ji comes and takes care of whatever is bothering us at that moment.
And I truly believe that He's been taking care of my affairs really well. At times, in MY life at least, all I need is Guru Ji or Ardaas or Simran & voila! every messed up situations works out! And trust me, my life gets messed up too much & too often =P, there's a gazzillion issues that come up every now and then... but I cannot complain, cause Pita Ji, mere Preetam, has been too kind, before I can even start worrying, He sets up a light at the end of the tunnel. (BTW, to disclose the secret, & apologize... I've not been writing so much since the beginning of 2012, cause of issues & problems arising back to back, continuously, but like I said, Guru Ji is just pushing me beyond my limits, kinda like forcing me to come face to face with my fears & taking a stab, just to master in that area of my life & conquer my fears... Just like a concerned daddy does when teaching his daughter how to ride a bike, or walk for the first time, He lets go of her, as soon as he feels she's got it, but till then, he keeps pushing her beyond her limits, even if it scares the living pieces out of the poor daughter *~*)
Now, I look at concepts such as shaheedi & wonder if what is preached to our next generation Sikhs is really  true. If just by chanting 'Vaheguru' with all our heart & soul, Satguru Ji's help & protection reaches us, then why did shaheedi of Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaaj, Guru Teg Bahadur Ji Maharaaj, Guru Gbind Singh Ji Maharaaj's entire family,  countless Singha Singhniya, chotta ghallughara, 1984- 1894, etc. etc. etc. ever happen? 
At some point, I also told the kids that We all are Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaaj's Sahibzaadey, we all owe our lives & deaths (Shaheedi? hmm.. maybe not) to Maharaaj ji & the Khalsa Panth... & I discussed the concept of Jeevan-mukt (being dead, while still alive)- how sacrificing our Manmukhi desires every day of our lives is a sacrifice in its own- how Gurmukhs' ears are dead to nindya (slander), eyes are dead to sight of someone else's woman/man/precious objects/money/beauty/faults, etc. I said that we give up our heads and become committed to shaheedi- as in sacrificing (our sleep, our cunningness, our kaam, krodh, lobh, moh, hankaar). Then I clearly mentioned that Shaheeds of the panth didn't feel pain when being cut into pieces, boiled/ burnt alive... because they were doing simran/ reading baani in Guru ji's blissful lap at the time & had become jeevan-mukt when they gave their heads to the Guru at the first place. I might have been really wrong, but I think it wasn't my propaganda, it was just a discussion, where I was presenting my thoughts.
But then again, when I look at Sikh kids being somewhat fanatic & absolutely obsessed with shaheedi, I feel rather scared.  WHY?
1) I think fanaticism sprouts out of religious ego & self-righteousness, both need to be abandoned when we surrender our sees(head) at Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaaj's Charan Kamal,  when being blessed with  Amrit.
2) because I haven't completely surrendered my sees at Pita Ji's Charan Kamal & I think that if I'm put into a position where the panth needs me to give Shaheedi, buddy, I'll be screaming my lungs out & crying my freggin eyes out for sure (Guru Ji gimme Strength!!!). I pray that Guru Ji makes me His & that I belong to Him anyway, but He hasn't yet defeated my fears & resistance for pain, which is okay. But then again, when Guru Ji gives you a seva, He also gives you the strength for it/ He's the doer, we're just His puppets. Besides, He takes away our pain & only gives us the good part. See, you know what I mean when I say Guru Ji's the man! He's the besttttt
3) Bir Ras (the nectar of martial energy that Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaaj talks about in the Dasam Guru Granth) or beerta (bravery) is much different than acting out of anger or frustration. Guru Ji never advocates anger, He repeatedly say refrain from Krodh (anger). He says force & swordsmanship is our last resort & that it should be justified, it has to be in bir ras, not anger & frustration. "jabey baan lagyo, tabey rosh jagyo" (Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaaj)
4) I've been brought up by the generation of Sikhs who didn't quite practice their religion (took Amrit & such), because (I think) they witnessed 1984 in their late teens/ early 20's and saw their peers being massacred, raped, killed. They've seen too much oppression to openly embrace a faith that was being crushed at the time. Of course this doesn't sound very brave of them, but lay people do get terrified I guess. And to be completely honest, I'd likely be the same way, considering that a poor snap sound can completely freak me out, & these people saw their peer generations being bombed & raped & God knows what else. And my hesitation might be a result of always being told to not be an outlier (w/ Kirpaans & Dastaars) or look scruffy (/hairy) because of insane amount of racism people face.
5) Sikhi without sacrifice, doesn't seem right! Our Gurus chose to make the foundation of Sikhi on Shaheedi or sacrifice. I totally believe that everything that the Guru sahibaan did was for a reason, and to teach us something. Before I knew too much about Sikhi, the stories of Shaheed sings always took my breath away & lingered in my mind for prolonged periods of time. I had seen a picture of Bhai Taaru Singh Ji Shaheed on a random magazine in my granny's drawer when I was really just a kid & heard the story of his shaheedi & I was so sad & restless for years when I saw that picture. I remember keeping that magazine in my little collection of books for years. Every time I looked at it I felt so scared & restless.
The animated movies on Sahibzaadey, Bhai Taru Singh Ji & the new one (I watched today =P) Shaheed Bhai Subeg Singh & Shabaaz Singh- have always sparked impeccable inspiration in me. The stories are so real and so amazing. (BTW, the new movie is amazing, watch it- I kinda have the urge to discuss movies after I watch them =P). Sikhs have always faced tyranny & that's nothing new. Guru Ji says, you will always face opposition (/tyranny) in this world, when trying to do something good, but you have to be conscientious of the fact that you have to face the true lord in His court in the next world... so it makes sense to try to restore peace, value truth more than anything else & stand up for the truth (the role of the Khalsa), but my logical brain still hesitates, saying that theres no one truth, there are various sides of truth. your truth differs from my truth... I therefore hesitate quite a bit about the hype that gets created when there are causes worth sacrificing your life for. I do believe that there are times when it is clear that the panth needs you. 
jabey baan lagyo, tabey rosh jagyo (Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaaj)
But in this century, when everything is to be solved by negotiation, I see the concept of Gurmatta (http://www.sikh-history.com/sikhhist/institutes/gurmatta.html) more practical than sacrificing someones life. But then again, the tyrant can rule out gurmatta as well, in which case, there might be a need to do something serious...
Now call me a coward if that's what I'm being, but these are my super complicated thoughts, that have been  coming up recently.
I don't know if you'd like me to comment on serious war- like subject, but there's a clear issue in India with all minorities: Sikhs we all know were massacred in 1984 (& years after) as the Akaal Takhat Sahib was burnt & bombed, Muslims have faced tension so many times including the time when Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished in 1992 to make a hindu temple in its place, Several churches were burnt in Orissa in 2007, Kashmir (a Muslim majority state) riots & issues are ongoing since like 25 years.... and for each one of these, the government & judicial system has been quiet & unwilling to provide justice. What would you call that? I guess people that get frustrated & think that the government is responsible for these, might just be right! 
Oh and in India, such riots look kinda like a scene where people are killing others, burning houses/ cities, mass murders, smashing all cars, gang rapes, all sorts of insane stuff- on the name of religion. Basically, pretty stupid!
Some interesting movie scenes (I like movies on political issues for some reason) reporting on such issues are   


This stuff is so scary, I can't even watch it (I watched it years ago, I'm not doing that again)
So, what do you guys think? Is sacrifice an efficient way of being heard & standing up for the truth? Are sikhs really that obsessed with shaheedi, is that justified? Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaaj & Guru Teg Bahadur Ji Maharaaj had all the power in the world, they could have avoided being Shaheed, why didn't they? 
My conclusion to this, definitely is that The foundation of Sikhi has been laid upon the blood of the Shaheeds, there must be a reason for Akaal Purakh Vaheguru for doing this. I cannot decipher it, we don't know what reason it served for the panth & for the entire world, but my faith in Pita Ji Maharaaj's Charan Kamal & the Love of my Preetam tells me that it's His affair, He controls it, everything happens in His Hukam, His bhaana (will) is right and I believe Him =) I think what we really need to sacrifice (give shaheedi of) is our greed, anger, pride, anger and ego. We need to find solutions to problems by working on ourselves & our surrounding communities. 
I shall no longer question this, but I'll be open to whatever I might be able to learn regarding the issue, God willing    


By the way, Here's the video from the Kids camp that I promised:
video
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh =)
*Love & Light* <3 *Hugs & Prayers*