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amardeep

Why Sikhi failed to spread

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Gurfateh

I'd like to open a discussion on why Sikhi failed to spread significantly as a religion and failed to attract large numbers of converts outside Punjab. Even in Punjab, Sikhs probably never made up more than 10-20% of the population. Indeed, "small" pockets of converts can be found outside Punjab in Afghanistan, Bihar, Maharashtra etc. The latest Indian census reports reveal that Jammu and Kashmir has a Sikh population of some 200,000 (with most in the Jammu area and not in the remote Kashmir valley). Maharahstra likewise has some 250,000 while Bihar has a ridicilousily small number of only 20,000 (consider that Sikhi has been represented in this area for more than 300 years!!)... Rajastan has some 800,000 Sikhs while Madya Pradesh has 150,000 (which I find quite interesting to look further into). While these figures might sound astonishing to some, one just has to compare to the number of Christians in India - there are more Christians in India than there are SIkhs worldwide! Likewise there are more Muslims in Uttar Pradesh than there are Sikhs worldwide! To add insult to injury, there are almost double as many Muslim Punjabis as there are SIkh punjabis!

 

Untill British colonisation, large Sikh communities was not really to be seen outside lands that had'n been under Mughal sway. There were very small communities of Sikhs across the Asian continent (in Arab lands) but Sikhi never did manage to attract a large number of devotees. It is also noteworthy that many of the Sikh communities outside Punjab in many cases descend from Punjabi immigrants. As such, these are not indigenous converts of the land.

What do you think is the reason Sikhi failed to spread?

If Sikhkhoj is planning to write in this topic - keep it civil and keep all personal attacks aside!

Edited by N30 S!NGH

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I can think a couple of reasons 

1. Sikh Jeevan means daily routine, here I am talking about sikh who is a amritdhari, we all know how effortful path it is, do daily Bani's and be vigilante 24/7 for kurehits. It demands full on commitment. My point is unless person has both knowledge + faith on Guru granth sahib Jee Maharaj, It is somewhat difficult to go on this path for so long. We all look for shortcuts and came to Guru Sahib for help, only in need, but it takes time and in addition we have to open our minds and ears at all times. Maybe people want lesser demanding gods just do some ritual, and do some offerings and gods are pleased, it is not sikh way, it could be a major reason for people not fully accepting it.

2. Politics and leadership could be another one, just think I am here referring to Giani Hari Singh Randhawa vs Missionary discussion video posted on the forum, in which he says that the Rehat Maryada code, we see nowadays is just a rough document presented in 1930's. Though all 5 Singh Sahibs of takhts did not agree to it, so it is not duly signed and accepted. That happened 80 years back, in all these years no definite effort was made to correct it and unite the panth with one rehat maryada which is core need, it gives you idea how lacking leadership/politics is in spreading sikh message.

3. Parents are responsible too, if children are not in sikhi, it is most likely a reflection of parents. Mothers specially (don't get feminist on me), I believe most of us who are in sikhi are because of our mothers with strong sikh roots. Her spending a lot of childhood years with you affects your way of life.

4. Parcharak (Distributers of faith) are in blame too, in older days parcharak was one who did practical first and then spread the message, a couple of sants like Isher Singh Rara sahib comes to mind, beginners look up to role models, they first saw parcharak's jeevan and later on come to Guru sahib, it could be the reason. In today world with all the media one high avastha parcharak can make the difference to the people who want to enter the faith.

Guru Gobind Singh Maharaj do ardas for us in chaupai sahib that   

 

"ਸੁਖੀ ਬਸੈ ਮੋਰੋ ਪਰਿਵਾਰਾ ॥ ਸੇਵਕ ਸਿੱਖਯ ਸਭੈ ਕਰਤਾਰਾ ॥੩੭੮॥
O, Creator, May my family live in comfort along with all devotees and disciples. 

 

 maybe we don't want to become "SUKHI".

Edited by ibrute

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Sikhkojh veer actually the person who gave the elephant to Sri guru gobind Singh Ji maharaj was an assami king whose parents were Sikhs from Sri guru tegh bahadur Ji maharajs time not Sri guru Nanak dev  Ji's time according to kalgidhar chamatkar.

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Other religions used to convert by the sword. The Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and probably other religions as well converted people by the sword. Sikhi is one dharam that does not do that.

 

Also another reason could be is that our punjabi community is only lookin out for themselves and their families. They don't care about sikhi as much as their careers or families. The parents probably didn't teach sikhi to their young children cause they were too occupied with other things. That's why a lot of them did go become other faiths etc. 

 

I used to hear that Sikh population was 25 million 20 years ago but not it's down to 23 million worldwide. That speak volumes! Instead of increasing we actually started to drop in numbers!

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Failed to spread and struggling to sustain ..i would put it like that.

In Guru Maharaj's times you find references to Bihar Assam Gujarat Rajasthan Sindh Afghanistan Karnataka Maharashtra Uttar Pradesh  Kashmir Odisha...

In modern times when there is so much connectivity we are struggling to overcome influences.

I feel Singh Sabha movement Punjabised the Panth ..what was loosely connected with its diversities is now expected to follow a uniform whitewashed order.

This is one good reason what makes me visit Takhat Hazoor Sahib time and again, ..we see tribal Lambada, Sikalgar , Wadari, Banjara and Bijnori presence there.

I have noticed newly married Banjara sehajdhari couples coming there to do matha teko .

The Hazooris accept them with their differences as long as they dont do any kurehits in the asthaan premises .

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the interesting responses.

Indeed during the Gurus times there were Sikhs in the different provinces of the Mugham Empire - but how much of a proportion did they make in those areas?  Lets not discuss individual examples of Sikhs here and t here, but rather talk demographics.

The empire of Maharaja Ranjit Singh had a population of some 15 million people, about 1,5-2 million of these were Sikhs. Thats still quite a small minority which Means that even in the heartland of the Sikhs they never made up a majority after 300 years of Sikh presence.

Ibrute: Islam is also quite a difficult religion to follow - many rules etc. Centralisation of a faith might be a good response, however Islam was never really centralised either - Islamic law worked on local levels with each madhab having their own rules independent on  the state governement (though some Muslim empires had the clergy closer to ruling elites).

Sikh Khoj: Good to bring up the Nanakpanthis. Do we have any statistics on how many there were in Bihar and other Indian states? I read once that the first Indian president was a Nanakpanthi Bihari Sikh. How much of the population did they make up?

 

I came across a Mughal source from 1707 that says the majority of Multan and Lahore were followers of Guru Gobind Singh - im not sure how accurate that is, but it might hint to the fact that Muslims considered their presence huge in the urban areas as early as the early 1700s.

The Dabistan probably Refers to all the major cities of the Mughal Empire, but nonetheless an interesting observation from that period.

 

 

Regarding forced conversions which many have mentioned - It is true that this happened for both Christians and Muslims. However, these faiths still managed to grow significantly even in centuries where persecution did not take place. It is generally a myth that most followers converted due to force. Iran took 300 years for the majority populace to convert to Islam. If force was involved it would have been much less. Likewise Syria was'nt Muslim majority untill the 1100s - ie 500 years after the first Muslim ruler conquered the land. During the colonial period many muslim countries still had large Christian population making up 20-40 percent (egypt, lebanon, iraq etc). So forced conversions was not always the norm even though some rulers were brutal indeed.  Many converted due to other reasons. But why did'n they convert to Sikhi? 

 

 

 

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Lack of bhramvidya and spirituality in mainstream sikhi to understand true essence of sikhi too much worldly politics in dharam..These days sikhs are more cultural-religious border line stuck in dogma than religious-spiritual. 

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Another thing i have noticed singhs in panj pyares  these days for most part consider their job as part time in sikhi for example they come out once an while in nagar kirtan photo-ops, amrit sanchars.. Our panj pyares honor chivalry title of satguru poora of khalsa is been reduced to mere symbolic representation rather than pratical title of puratan times. For example in soraj parkash granth, there is whole episode of bhai dya singh ji - mukhi of panj pyares giving spiritual discourse of atma to sangat for a month, in puratan times panj pyares were more engaged in sangat than being pure symbolic gesture. Now great chivalrous panj pyares is been reduced to individual sants, jathedars who are more concerned about their dera, dal, cult, personality cult than bigger picture.

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The fact that singhs who is doing panj pyares seva from different jatha's, samparda's out in west cannot even sit together in langar hall have langar together let alone do vichar show the absolute travesty in our panth. I aint buying everything is fine and dandy here in our panth. From top to bottom if anything is consistently missing is - actual backbone fearless love for truth-sach and integrity.

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There are many many more hindu's who attend Gurdwara than sikhs.many are so spiritiually attached with gurbani.Hardly any of them call himself sikh, reason when you can get everything in sikhism by remaining non sikh and you have no liabilities then why people choose to be a sikh.The defination of sikh in India is a person who keeps somewhat hair and tie turban. that's it.There are even sikhs who cut hair and call themselves hindu just to escape hatred from keshdhari sikhs.

 

RSS call everybody Hindu so that Hindu Identity can be establish in people result many people who didn't have any association with Hindu's  are now part of hinduism

Sikhs call everybody non sikh result is in front of you , why people are so surprised

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RSS call everybody Hindu so that Hindu Identity can be establish in people result many people who didn't have any association with Hindu's  are now part of hinduism

This is exactly my point earlier bro, we gave in to paranoia, insecurity and fear whilst they capitalize on them...Why cannot every be sikh? In fact sikh is more ancient term than hindu. 

 

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​I guess their religious people are given too much flexiblity compared to ours. It really does not help when first thing our gyanis or parcharikhs say to grow hair, take amrit before even they talk about peace of mind, essence of sikhi, or even teach basic meditation too much segragation of monaie brothers by amritdharis.

​Bro, Monay/Dharri Katuye get enough rights in Gurudwaras. They can get married in gurudwaras, get siropas (utter disgusting act), langar seva, etc. I am talking, from a Canadian perspective.

Keeping kesh is the bare minimum requirement in Gurmat. One should not make keeping kesh look like a humongous task. Achieving peace of mind is way way way tougher than keeping kesh.

If we start getting flexible with the basics of our religion, then we will be in, for big big trouble. 

Having said the above, we must deal with patits respectfully. We must not show any pride in being amritdhari in front of them and look down upon them. Do prachaar in a humble and polite way, so that they get attracted towards khanday da amrit.

Bhul chuk maaf

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Regarding Sri Lankan history: Does non-Sikh sources confirm the existence of a Raja Shivnabh and if so - when did his descendants convert back to their original faith? What is the reason that Sri Lankan Sikhs are made up of Punjabis and not indigenous people like the Muslims of Sri Lanka? (I have'nt been there myself but a friend of mine who went there said the Sikhs are from Punjab and Delhi).

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Sikhkojh veer actually the person who gave the elephant to Sri guru gobind Singh Ji maharaj was an assami king whose parents were Sikhs from Sri guru tegh bahadur Ji maharajs time not Sri guru Nanak dev  Ji's time according to kalgidhar chamatkar.

​Brother actually there was a queen who converted at the time of Guru Nanak Maharaaj, her name was Gurjan. Rattan Rai, the king who gifted the elephant was her great grandson. So technically they were Sikhs since Guru Nanaks time.

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Regarding Sri Lankan history: Does non-Sikh sources confirm the existence of a Raja Shivnabh and if so - when did his descendants convert back to their original faith? What is the reason that Sri Lankan Sikhs are made up of Punjabis and not indigenous people like the Muslims of Sri Lanka? (I have'nt been there myself but a friend of mine who went there said the Sikhs are from Punjab and Delhi).

It happened all over the world, descendants did 'convert' back to their original faith in many cases. The most obvious and undeniable example are the many Sindhis who, especially after partition, have become mainstream Hindus instead of Nanakpanthis. Ofcourse the few Nanakpanthi Sindhis still exist with idols of Guru Nanak or Maharaj Parkash. If it can happen in India, near our nucleus Punjab, then it could've definitely happened in far off lands like Sri Lanka.

Perhaps as Nanakpanthis they're sense of 'seperateness' was not as great as in the Khalsa (niarapan) thus they slowly merged back with the dominant religion of those areas or their ancestors.

 

 

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The non Sikh sources do not confirm the Raja Shiv Nabh, the name seems to be more of a description (King who was devotee of Shiv?). But absence of non Sikh sources should not be taken as a definite proof that this did not happen. There existed a tablet in the name of Guru Nanak (memory of  his visit) till last century but it has since dissapeared apparently.

But I don't have many reasons to doubt it, many rulers converted during the times of Guru Nanak-Gobind Singh. Raja Rattan who gifted the elephant to Guru Gobind Singh was a Sikh since 4 generations (since Guru Nanak), another royal family near Katihar  (Bihar) also had a Gurdwara in their palace, Bhagat Peepa was a king... Ofcourse just because many kings became Guru's disciples it does not mean Shiv Nabh did too (or if he even existed).

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​Bro, Monay/Dharri Katuye get enough rights in Gurudwaras. They can get married in gurudwaras, get siropas (utter disgusting act), langar seva, etc. I am talking, from a Canadian perspective.

Keeping kesh is the bare minimum requirement in Gurmat. One should not make keeping kesh look like a humongous task. Achieving peace of mind is way way way tougher than keeping kesh.

If we start getting flexible with the basics of our religion, then we will be in, for big big trouble. 

Having said the above, we must deal with patits respectfully. We must not show any pride in being amritdhari in front of them and look down upon them. Do prachaar in a humble and polite way, so that they get attracted towards khanday da amrit.

Bhul chuk maaf

​You obviously missed my point here, not all are ready for change in the body/social circles/jobs - grow hair and take amrit right away- puratan way recognized and acknowledged this point and slowly with sehaj change the mindset of monaie by introducing them to deep profound gurmat adhyatam sikhi so their mind can be stronger more receptive to hidden spiritual reasons why kesh are kept and amrit is taken.

It's a same approach 3ho follow to this day and it works, they approach having long hair and amrit from spiritual angle than abhramic fear mongering type of parchar or cultish of parchar many parcharikhs follow ended up putting off lot of people from sikhi than joining them either that or these parcharikhs ended up creating a new box/yardstick for seekers - those who have long hair and take amrit will receive blessing from guru maharaj and fast express pass to sachkhand nothing works wonders for ego than well packaged advertised spiritual hope or promise..ego loves it as one does not have to do much this is number one reason for complacency in our panth where one gets to comfortable position in their life and have all these free time on their hands to judge, put down others, creating all kind of silly narratives follow 52 hakums of sikhi like commandments without any contextualization otherwise you go to hell.

 

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​You obviously missed my point here, not all are ready for change in the body/social circles/jobs - grow hair and take amrit right away- puratan way recognized and acknowledged this point and slowly with sehaj change the mindset of monaie by introducing them to deep profound gurmat adhyatam sikhi so their mind can be stronger more receptive to hidden spiritual reasons why kesh are kept and amrit is taken.

​I agree to the point that taking amrit immediately is not that easy, but keeping kesh should be elementary. It is the root of Sikhi.

Some of your points are making, keeping kesh look like a tough task, but it is not, especially for people born in Sikh families. One cannot equate keeping kesh to peace of mind or taking amrit or deep level adhyatamik gyan. But your point also makes some sense. The more spiritual a person is, the more one understands the importance of kesh.

The Sehaj approach should definitely be used, while dealing with non-Sikhs. You gave example of 3ho and it was worked well on non-Sikhs.

Bhul chuk maaf

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Men keeping kesh should be quite easy but it appears based on my observation, its quite hard for women in west or even punjabi women to keep kesh due to social pressure to look certain way..again root cause being mind being conditioned certain way that conditioning can be loosen or removed by gurmat spiritual discourses, meditation etc as gurmat spiritual marg ensues bliss, pure congnitive perception of things,  sharp intuitive understanding real self-certainty-assertiveness rather being always confused and also ensues, de-attached-bairaag. so its quite important monaie be exposed to actual essence of sikhi, expereince sikhi on spiritual level..keeping kesh in relations with one's religious- spirituality rather than just simply hearing same old rhetoric - keep kesh for sake of keeping or traditional cultural-religious reasons.

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Mates im nok talking about the present day, - im talking a historical perspective. Other faiths were not practiced correct either and had a much greater focus on external ritualism than inner spirituality yet they still managed to attract large groups of people.

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