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Being Sikh Students


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Being Sikh Students

Kamalla Rose Kaur Fri Jul 13

For people who are born in the West and exploring Sikhi, and for Western converts to Sikhi, we have some "beginner's-mind" advantages, I assert. I experience that Sikhi works very well for Westerners.

Sikhi opens our hearts, inspires us, heals us, and gives us courage and discipline. And Sikhi also feeds our minds - unlike so many other religions where faith and reason get to fighting wars within people. Stunningly, Sikhi and Science are beautifully harmonious Worldviews. Guru Nanak described in his poetry, 500 years ago, the Worlds upon Worlds we glimpse in photos from our best telescopes these

days. And what a relief for many Westerners to experience a religious doctrine and practice that is Universalist, anti-caste and class, non-sexist, not racist and out to fight personality cults! Yes, Sikhi works very well for Westerners!

The only big problem turns out to be that the practice of Sikhi forces us all to be humble - and I believe that being a Western convert to Sikhi asks EXTRA humility from us!

And Westerners don't traditionally DO humility so swell. :)

Here in the USA there is a strong popular culture belief that everyone's opinion is as relevant and worthwhile as everyone else's.

Yet Sikh/Students need to understand where we have training and expertise and scholarship and where we are still learning. If you are a Westerner exploring Sikhi, or a new convert to Sikhi, get used to the fact that you were not raised and trained up in Sikhi and it shows. Be conscious that you don't yet understand Sikhi and Sikh history and politics and Sikh concerns. So ask more questions, and answer less. This is what it means to be a Sikh/Student.

Meanwhile, we Sikh Westerners often humble Sikhs from Indian ancestry too, but it is not because we are wise and knowledgeable about Sikhi. It is because Sikhi works well on people raised in Western culture and Sikhi principles are often a lot easier for us to practice here in the West. For instance, it is hard to fight sexism in India. Most women from that culture do not yet feel fully SAFE and COZY and COMFORTABLE speaking out in India.

Actually it isn't safe for ANY Sikh to speak out in India.

Now, just because I was not given childhood training in Sikh - I never had Gurbani flowing all around me everyday and I never heard about the great Sikh heroes as bedtime stories - and just because I only speak English and I have about a 2nd grade education in Sikh History and Politics, doesn't mean I am a lesser person or a lesser Sikh.

It just means I shouldn't lecture too much on those particular subjects and I should keep learning and exploring and studying.

On the other hand, as a Western convert to Sikhi I can make myself very useful by transmitting my elementary and basic knowledge of Sikhi to others. And I can be helpful in the art of culture bridging. I can happily serve Sikhi by doing the many little things that are easier for me to do here in the West, because I am a Westerner, in support of the Sikh cause. After all, I was born and raised here in the USA and I understand my crazy lost culture better than a first generation Sikh from the Punjab ever will.

So I have my areas of expertise too and these I can, as a Sikh/Student feel honored and proud to employ to the best of my abilities for the sake of Sikhi.

And I can repeat "waheguru" as well as any Sikh of any time or any place- all

it takes is doing it!

And I can ask lots of questions and keep learning from people who know more

about Sikhi than I do.

I can stay humble.

This is what it means to be a Sikh/Student.

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