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A Youth's Essay on Sikhism Today


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Sikh Youth Essay on Sikhism in Today's World

SikhNet Special Essay

Written by

Fateh Singh Bhai

14 years old

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh.

Who are we - today? As Sikhs, are we as devoted to our Gurus as our ancestors were a few hundred years ago? Are we willing to lay down our lives for our convictions and beliefs; our freedoms and rights? In the past, Sikhs have endured unspeakable torture and have drawn their swords, even against impossible odds, to defend their faith. It seems as if today, Sikhs are disregarding the words of wisdom stated by our Gurus and have dismissed the true Sikh way of life. Many of us are quick to surrender to a hedonistic illusion of temporal pleasures and self-indulgence. Instead of wanting to stand out, to be noticed, to be unique, we choose to camouflage.

Have you ever seen someone with grotesque tattoos, an outrageous hairdo of many colors, and innumerable body pierces? Why would anyone want to have this kind of appearance? It may be flamboyant or gaudy, but that’s the purpose. The individual wants to be recognized. It cries for attention, “Look at me! I’m different.” In a similar but noble way, a Sikh’s turban makes him distinct, especially in the Western world. However, there are pressures that are collateral with being different.

Because of these pressures, many Sikh children and teenagers pay no heed to their parents’ pleas to not give up on their Sikh identity. The media plays a villainous role in defiling the youth of America, and Sikh children and teenagers are no exception. We see glorifications of extravagant material wealth, sex, violence, drugs, and decadence. These vices are in direct contradiction to what Sikhism teaches. The media has the potential to deprave our minds. It’s easy to just give in to what it feeds us.

Constant pressure does eventually take its toll on certain people. I, for one, am infinitely proud of my heritage. I realize that I am Guru Gobind Singh’s son and lion. No amount of adversity can coerce me into giving up my religion. I look different because of my turban and I will soon have a full-grown beard like my father and my grandfather.

The illusion of maya has a tight grasp around our necks. Worldly wealth has blinded and deceived many of us into believing that it is true salvation. The only wealth that brings us happiness and satisfaction is intangible. It cannot be seen or touched. It is a close relationship with our creator and protector.

Money is essential, of course, but as Guru Nanak once stated,

“Neecha andar neech jaat, neechee haun atth neech.

Jitthe neech samaleeyan titthaay nadar teri baksees.”

“There are lower castes among the low castes and some absolutely low. Nanak seeks their company. What has he to do with the high ones? For, where the lowly are cared for, there is God’s blessing and grace.”

We believe money can bring us great happiness, but a great amount of wealth can lead us off the path of Truth and into darkness by making us disregard the one who gave it to us, Waheguru.

Today, and as it always will be, children look up to their parents. It hurts a young person deeply if their parents are acting immorally and forget that they are role models for their kids. If parents would make the effort to get in touch with their inner selves and God instead of constantly worrying about material things, they would experience harmony and their children would follow in their footsteps. Children are not as naïve as their parents may think, they learn very quickly. They can learn in positive ways or in destructive and negative ways.

Parents have an important responsibility in guiding their children on the right path. If the mothers and fathers are proud to be Sikhs, observe and follow the Reht Maryada, and educate their children about the Sikh faith, then the next generation of boys and girls will be just as knowledgeable and self-confident. They will face the world with their heads held high, instead of forgetting who they really are because of unanswered questions. While the parents do need to care for their children, we as the youth should show obedience. Our mother and father brought us into this world and it is only fit that we give them our due respect.

Guru Gobind Singh sacrificed his four sons for the Sikh faith. While he was indeed a fearless and noble martyr, his children were just as brave and expressed great temerity in the face of death. They followed the example of their father and it led them to be great figures in Sikh history. Today, we are making history as well. It is up to the parents to pass down the Sikh legacy to their children and it is the youth’s responsibility to continue it.

In the Western World, we as Sikhs who trace our roots to India need to be hypothetical “lotuses” in society. We need to be a part of the “water”, or America, but we also need to be separate from it and float above the water. We have a darker complexion of skin and this alone makes us different in America. In one essay written by Gurbaksh Singh entitled “Sonny, Tie Your Turban”, he discusses this issue.

He writes about a young man whose parents were from East India. This man had a light skin tone and European Canadians thought that he was of European descent as well. When they found out of his true Indian roots, they treated him differently and acted as if he was inferior. This East Indian’s view totally changed. At first his outlook was “Sikhs shouldn’t keep their long and shabby beards while they live in Canada. They should cut their hair and look clean, tidy, and smart-looking just like the other people in the society in which they live.” After seeing the reaction of his European friends, he told his son, “You may do anything, but you cannot change who you really are. Therefore, be a Sikh, look like a Sikh, and be proud of that. Why disrespect your faith? Even by doing so, you do not get what you want, ‘equality with the majority.’ ”

This essay taught me that no matter what, we as Indian Sikhs are minorities. There is no need to try to fit in. Instead, we need to stand out and be proud. We must respect our heritage, our religion, and ourselves in order to be respected by our peers. If you are a good person and earn an honest living, people will value your content of character and not judge you by your appearance.

“Khalsa mero roop hai khaas

Khalsa meri jaan ki jaan

Khalsa mero budh ar giaan.

Khalse ka hau dhar-au dhiaan.”

“Khalsa is my complete image

Khalsa is the very soul of my life

Khalsa gives me intellect and wisdom

Khalsa is the object of my meditation.”

WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA, WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH

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Well said lad - a great essay.

What i find most disheartening is the number of "singhs" willing to get ina ruck with muslims and huindus "fior there faith" and the number of them willing to "die for theer faith"

but ther very few who are willing to live for there faith.

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