Thursday, March 16, 2006

Internet Sikhs

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

I read this article and I thought it was very well written. Here it is.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Internet Sikhs

This is a very broad title for a subject that can span in various directions. The main focus of this post however is going to be the sole reason that I decided to write it. Over the past couple of years we have seen many new Singhs/Kaurs initiated into the panth who are of a very young age. By young I mean in their adolescent years. These individuals are truly blessed to have arrived on this great path without prior encouragement from parents and with barely any sangat influence.

However, the reason I am posting this is because there seem to be people out there that feel because they have taken amrit they are now the ultimate authority on Sikhi rehat and like to preach to others any chance they get. I do not mean to hate on you because I know that exhilarating feeling of being a Sikh and wanting to teach everyone you meet about your great religion, but in order to fully assert our opinions we must have the knowledge that is necessary to do so.

Personally, I have been amritdhari from a very young age, and I do not wish to sound as if this is something to be boastful about as the quantity of years is nothing.. the years have been long but there is still nothing in my ‘jhollee’. I am as empty as I was the day I was initiated. The reason I felt compelled to write was because I am amazed by the ability of others to declare themselves the authority on all things sikhi when they are not even familiar with the basics!.. Thorough research is required to answer almost any question that is posed, but beyond the introductory questions, I have seen many individuals debating with others about topics deemed controversial by Akhal Takhat and their reasoning is so absurd that its scary picturing them as the next generation of Sikhs! Debates that scholars have been wracking their brains about for centuries cannot be solved by YOU solely OVERNIGHT.

So, this brings me to my explanation for why this posted is named as such. After coming across various individuals of this type I decided to look into why it was that they were able to advertise their opinions (many times contrary to mine, but sometimes the same), with information that was as absurd as could be, and blatantly challenging tenants of our religion that I would be scared to even question in my head.. Well I reached the conclusion that this was due to the usage of message boards and blogs on the internet. Living in western countries we are not taught aspects of Punjabi culture.. and YES CULTURE IS A BIG PART OF A SIKHI UPBRINGING.. it is by no means to dictate religious practices.. but Sikhi DID flourish in Punjab and there is a reason for this.. within Punjabi culture there is an aspect of respect.. the equivalent of this can be said to be ‘sharda’ within sikhi.. although this isn’t the best word to explain it.. The meaning is to accept something as is, without question.. BLIND FAITH.. however, in western culture we are asked to question everything.. in this time of kaljug where there are countless misleading things it is difficult to fully have blind faith, but there is also a certain degree to which u can question without stepping into unchartered territory and saying something that you may regret.

I grew up in a family where things were better left unsaid in the sense that saying it would cause discomfort.. this was by no means applicable to situations where the truth needed to be told.. it was more about not obliviously questioning what u deep down already know the answer to.. Sikhi needs this respect in order to flourish further.. the west has made us immune to many things and one of them is Love.

We as a society run after facts and scientific methods of doing things, not realizing that our religion makes mention of things scientists are discovering NOW.. reading message boards and such may provide you with facts, but the info is all at the discretion of the author of the post you are reading.. it’s a free world so a certain person may write up something extremely convincing and maybe there is even a counter attack to that individuals argument, however maybe both are not of the same intellect, or do not have the same resources available to them.. is this by any mean a fair assessment then and one upon which to form ur opinion from?.. This is where the fine line that divides up teenage Sikhs becomes not so fine. Those who grew up in sangat would quote older singhs as their first and foremost source of info.. and elders are very rarely known to say things which are questionable .. and if they were so ur second backup source would most likely also be an elder.. in the case of those finding information from the internet.. primary and most times secondary sources are internet pages, blog entries or message board posts.

No information can be proven right or wrong and there is no elder, respected individual sitting there monitoring all info feeds on the internet. Many times even if the individual wished to run information by a credible source it would be difficult due to location, availability or sometimes even the fact that they have not grasped the Punjabi language well. The combination of problems is endless and that is the reason for my post. I would like to ask fellow brothers and sisters to please use discretion when reading and absorbing information.. and most of all when going back into the world and quoting it to people..

There is hindu infiltration of Sikh materials, but the latest arguments I have seen for perfectly normal sikh practices have been that they are derived from the Hindus.. The guru’s really did believe in CharaPaul, they really did initiate gurguddi through coconuts and a Tilak.. In university so much stress is placed upon citing resources, which is usually for the sake of giving credit to the person whos ideas you are using, however in Sikhi citations should be even more stressed so those that are spreading false information knowingly, or maybe even unknowingly in some cases are helped and set right. So please.. do not become a Internet Sikh, instead become a Sikh of Guruji, who is in turn our sole guidance, in this world AND the next.