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  1. I was deeply touched by the words of Guru Nanak when I researched him online. I love the method that he teaches, although maybe I don't understand it entirely. But it's fine because there are lots of methods, and I have access to the One just by turning to Him, without the guidance of any teacher. I think we can all agree that once we are in the state where this is no distinction between ourselves and the rest of this universe, it doesn't really matter how we got there. I want to know more about his method, but I am content following another way, such as Gautama's way. I wanted to learn more about Nanak's way, so I visited a gurudwara here in Canada. What I saw at that gurudwara was not focused on teaching his way. As I understood it, the Sikh gurus taught in multiple languages, but the gurudwara where I went (and I think all of them around here) only provide service in Punjabi. So it seems that in a country where everyone speaks English (including almost all of the Punjabi-Canadians), it would make sense to spread the way of achieving mukthi to the most people, at least part of the time. This was my first indication that the gurudwaras are a Punjabi club, after the fact that people heavily identity with how they look and what they wear on their heads. I came to sit cross legged, meditate and listen to hymns, even though I can't understand the language. Most people were staring at me (none with smiles), maybe because I look different. In the whole temple, there was not a smile or look of elation on a person's face, even though when one bathes in the nectar of God it is clearly shown in their eyes. People didn't even look happy. The process was useless to a non-Punjabi speaker (which is why there weren't any other non-Punjabi speakers ever in attendance at these places, in a country that is 99% non-Punjabi speakers) so I went to take a look at the langar hall after about an hour of meditation to hymns. There was some food being served that I couldn't eat due to gluten allergies, so I just waited around for a few moments before I went home. From what I understand about the langar hall, they were created in Northern India hundreds of years ago where people actually had problems getting enough food. And the food in the langar hall is often vegetarian in India, because there are so many Hindus there. I didn't see Sikhs serving food to people desperately in need. I saw Punjabis sitting down together to have a Punjabi food meal, with other Punjabis. Canada is the country with the highest median income in the world, so Canadians aren't starving and there is little purpose for a langar hall like that if one wishes to engage in service to the community. Also, the year is 2017 and not 1700, so we have eliminated starvation issues. I saw was obese and diabetic Punjabis getting fed more food to make themselves more obese and diabetic. So the problem today is the opposite (too much food) and the best thing for these people would have been to fast, shut down the langar hall and donate the money to African aid. I believe that the Sikhs who started langar halls would not start them in a country like modern Canada where the main problem is actually our obesity, not hunger. It would have been cool if there was at least a pretense of wanting to serve other people, such as having an English menu listed on paper on the wall, or a sign IN ENGLISH that directs hungry people toward their gurudwara, but I have never seen anything like this at this gurudwara nor another one I went to years ago. The gurudwaras appear as unwelcome places for outsiders, and seem to be useless for those who seek spiritual enlightenment. It's not a problem for me--it is just a practical issue that Sikhs should probably be alert to. I asked my friend who immigrated from India about going to the gurudwara after the experience, and he said that people just go to these places to gossip, which might be true in his experience. I love what Nanak has written but instead of studying Nanak's way alone, I can study Gautama's way. There are no English speaking Sikh sangats around me where the members focus on mukthi, but there is a Buddhist sangha near me where we focus on achieving enlightenment. I can get social help that way if I need but, but really the process is personal and inward and nobody else is needed. Are there any others out there like me--those who loved the words of Guru Nanak but find becoming a Sikh or engaging with a "Sikh" community as rather useless? Is there a reason that someone already on the path to enlightenment should travel to these gurudwaras?
  2. I was deeply touched by the words of Guru Nanak when I researched it online. I love the method that he teaches, although maybe I don't understand it entirely. But it's fine because there are lots of methods, and I have access to the One just by turning to Him, without the guidance of any teacher. I think we can all agree that once we are in the state where this is no distinction between ourselves and the rest of this universe, it doesn't really matter how we got there. I want to know more about his method, but I am content following another way, such as Gautama's way. I wanted to learn more about Nanak's way, so I visited a gurudwara here in Canada. What I saw at that gurudwara was not focused on teaching his way. As I understood it, the Sikh gurus taught in multiple languages, but the gurudwara where I went (and I think all of them around here) only provide service in Punjabi. So it seems that in a country where everyone speaks English (including almost all of the Punjabi-Canadians), it would make sense to spread the way of achieving mukthi to the most people, at least part of the time. This was my first indication that the gurudwaras are a Punjabi club, after the fact that people heavily identity with how they look and what they wear on their heads. I came to sit cross legged, meditate and listen to hymns, even though I can't understand the language. Most people were staring at me (none with smiles), maybe because I look different. In the whole temple, there was not a smile or look of elation on a person's face, even though when one bathes in the nectar of God it is clearly shown in their eyes. People didn't even look happy. The process was useless to a non-Punjabi speaker (which is why there weren't any other non-Punjabi speakers ever in attendance at these places, in a country that is 99% non-Punjabi speakers) so I went to take a look at the langar hall after about an hour of meditation to hymns. There was some food being served that I couldn't eat due to gluten allergies, so I just waited around for a few moments before I went home. From what I understand about the langar hall, they were created in Northern India hundreds of years ago where people actually had problems getting enough food. And the food in the langar hall is often vegetarian in India, because there are so many Hindus there. I didn't see Sikhs serving food to people desperately in need. I saw Punjabis sitting down together to have a Punjabi food meal, with other Punjabis. Canada is the country with the highest median income in the world, so Canadians aren't starving and there is little purpose for a langar hall like that if one wishes to engage in service to the community. Also, the year is 2017 and not 1700, so we have eliminated starvation issues. I saw was obese and diabetic Punjabis getting fed more food to make themselves more obese and diabetic. So the problem today is the opposite (too much food) and the best thing for these people would have been to fast, shut down the langar hall and donate the money to African aid. I believe that the Sikhs who started langar halls would not start them in a country like modern Canada where the main problem is actually our obesity, not hunger. It would have been cool if there was at least a pretense of wanting to serve other people, such as having an English menu listed on paper on the wall, or a sign IN ENGLISH that directs hungry people toward their gurudwara, but I have never seen anything like this at this gurudwara nor another one I went to years ago. The gurudwaras appear as unwelcome places for outsiders, and seem to be useless for those who seek spiritual enlightenment. It's not a problem for me--it is just a practical issue that Sikhs should probably be alert to. I asked my friend who immigrated from India about going to the gurudwara after the experience, and he said that people just go to these places to gossip, which might be true in his experience. I love what Nanak has written but instead of studying Nanak's way alone, I can study Gautama's way. There are no English speaking Sikh sangats around me where the members focus on mukthi, but there is a Buddhist sangha near me where we focus on achieving enlightenment. I can get social help that way if I need but, but really the process is personal and inward and nobody else is needed. Are there any others out there like me--those who loved the words of Guru Nanak but find becoming a Sikh or engaging with a "Sikh" community as rather useless? Is there a reason that someone already on the path to enlightenment should travel to these gurudwaras?
  3. A light hearted look at our culture. We had a death in the family recently and we went to go do Avsose and it occurred to me how we all follow certain unwritten rules, I have noticed this over many years of going to avsoses. The ladies normally come in in packs and each will take turn to embrace the main woman of the house whose father or husband has died. Each lady must embrace and then cry, cry loudly if possible. The more she cries with added wailing the more it is regarded as she is showing sympathy. My mom used to say sometimes, "Pritam Kaur really cried loudly on the widows shoulder", admiring her ability to turn on the tears at will. They then sit down and quietly ask what happened and this is explained in hushed tones. The mood in the womens gathering is sombre and muted and the subjects that they talk about are invariably medical related. They will then look curiously at each other, and I would say with a little envy, at the noises coming from the room where the men are gathered. You will enter the mens room and shake hands with various people and then go hug the guy whose father or grandfather has died. You will say a few words of condolences and ask what happened. The guy will say what happened in a few sentences and then the room will fall silent for a few moments. Them someone will pipe up with what happened at the Gurdwara, or in Indian politics or such like and suddenly everyone will perk up and then a good old debate will start. Topics will range from how corrupt the committee of the Gurdwara is, to indian politics, and world politics. Then someone will crack a joke and everyone in the room will laugh out loud, with whoops of laughter, at which point the women in the other room will look on bemused at it all. Many times we have come out of an avsose and my wife has asked me what was going on in there? to which I would have to explain that someone cracked a joke and we all fell about laughing and shes like "I know, we could all hear it in the other room!" Then at some point the Avsose family will bring round a tray of hot tea. Protocol dictates that you do not take a cup of tea when offered, under no circumstances take the cup instead make an excuse "no ji, no thank you ji" which is intended to convey that you are feeling the hurt of the family and you are taking a voluntary fast in sympathy. But they will insist "we cannot stop eating we all have to live on" to which some who have been sitting for hours will succumb to the temptation and sheepishly take a cup and start taking sips, the rest will look on in disdain. On the funeral day a lot will go straight to the Gurdwara but if you want to show sympathy with the family you turn up at the house, ladies wearing white and a lot of gents now wear black. The dead person may not have set foot in a Gurdwara for years but it is now imperative that his body is taken inside the gurdwara hall and placed as close to Guru Sahib Ji as possible, this is followed by speeches about how his soul has gone to Satch Khand. It is a big snub to the family if you do not go to the crematorium, even if you didnt know the person that well. So coaches are laid on that find it difficult to pass through the crematorium gates and everyone piles in to the little chapel. It seems to be a tradition that everyone must stare at the smoke coming out of the tall chimney when the body is finely consumed by fire. Then its back to the Gurdwara with furious hand washing by everyone. It seems to be a measure of the deceased on how many people turns up to his funeral. People say admiringlyhow many people turned up, wow there were two coaches lined up! What they do not realise is that the poor soul has to leave all this behind, ALONE. He goes to be judged with only his Naam accompanying him and if he has none then he is in big trouble.
  4. Though this has nothing got to do with Sikhi, the topic at hand is an interesting one. Of course lets begin with the usual focus on language. As of the current time period I've noticed a shift towards Punjabi in Bollywood though it is largely stereotyped. Many of the popular songs contain some sort of Punjabi beat, poems, or lyrics. And because of this many Punjabi artists have found their way into Bollywood. They may not be on the big screen or with in the spot light but nevertheless there work is certainty noticeable. Other than the obvious influence on music I've noticed the perception of Sardars has certainly improved in comparison to the 90's and 2000's. I certainly am not happy with the change. I'm concerned where this change is going, I'm referring too the recent poster of "singh is bing" and other observations I have made. I'm of course fearful the this situation seems like is becoming a jump from one hole to another. Now my next point may seem silly but truth is in it matters. Background dancers, if you view bollywood movies or any other sort of media from previous generations "Sardar characters " were included and if they were it was for more or less comedic purposes. Now the Paghs are well tied for the most part and Sardar character has a purpose other than the but end of jokes. Fashion; as we all known everything in this is world is just another trend. And so over the past ~2 years "suits" have had a noticeable increase in popularity not in bollywood, but also it has become more acceptable for the "INDIAN" to where suits vs saris or other things. So lets join together and have a decision about what YOU have noticed. Where YOU think the trends will go. I look for forward to you posts
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