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Cheapest Entertainment in Town-The Gurdwara

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Guest Maha_Pavitar

Cheapest Entertainment in Town--The Gurdwara

By: Kanwar Ranvir Singh (learning zone yahoo group)

today, it seems to me that gurdwaras are not for education, but for

entertainment: we listen for particular artistes (ragis) and comment

on the quality of the music and/or voice. we may be amused or

entertained by some more outlandish fairy stories - sakhis, and we

are encouraged to take part in some ritual activities in order to pay

for our sins/insure our future - mainly donations of 10% (daswand) or

holding an akhand paat (continuous reading of the whole guru granth

sahib, but who listens to the whole thing?) or hosting langar. bored

by the meaninglessness of the guru's diwan (the teacher's court - the

classroom?), we focus on the quality of the free meal (langar was

good/bad/indifferent) and its service. we want the venues for our

cheap evening to be as nice as possible - look at the marble, the

size, etc.

if i may, this is the first shot of a protestant sikhism - a focus on

the book and its meaning. today sikhs do not see the book. what they

see is the golak - the money box. 99% of under-30s have never seen

the guru granth sahib ji, but 100% have seen the golak.

this does not go far enough. it is not a question of focusing on

gurbani. it is a question of recognising gurbani as the guru once

more. so far, people interpret gurbani in the light of reht, dasam

granth, sakhis, but rather gurbani should be used to see which

elements of anything else is useful. where have these

mukhis/jathedars, wannabee popes comes from? what about this range of

sants with their devoted and even fanatical followers? all of this

reminds one of the state of the catholic religion just before the


gurbani can explain gurbani. this is mainly because a great deal of

it is already commentary. whenever a guru wanted to further clarify

he did so. hence, we have already had editions with each guru before

the final edition. this is the light of the guru. the body of the

guru went from father (nanak) to son (angad) to grandson (amardas)

[according to gurbani] through guru gobind singh to the khalsa -

female and male. the body of the guru is alive and well. of course,

once we acknowledge that our work in the gurdwara is educational, it

is hard to see how wasting resources on fancy buildings, multiple

readings of the text, unhealthy food or teachings assistants

(granthis, ragis, etc.) who cannot communicate with those who read

gurmukhi as an additional language, is really purposeful. rituals

often seem meaningless to one who wants an answer to the question the

guru poses, "how can i lead a truthful life?"

if it isn't in gurbani why should i want to listen to a bunch of

heebie-jeebie merchants who are making it all up? the simplicity of

worship of the one inward god i can grasp as revolutionary. from god

incarnate (hindu) to the son of god (christian and greek), to the

messenger of god (islam), to the teacher about god inside (gurmat).

the twin poles of guru granth - an authenticated text - and guru

panth i can understand. an authenticated text guiding a reborn person

committed to her/his new family through the passing of guru bloodline

on march 30, 1699 from a human to a group that by now had faith in

the inner tutor, the satguru, the inner intelligence of beingness.

the three prayer times (dawn, evening and bedtime) as markers of the

passage of the day make sense to me. its four don'ts i can understand

as taboos preserving sikhs from outdated views of spirituality. its

five ks make sense as augments for the evolutionary techno sapiens, a

next step in human interaction with nature. for nature is not

separate from god. god fills us and all of nature and the names

(activities) of god in all breathes through the universe and turns it

into a song (gurbani). extending this song through naam jaap - god

into godliness - is the simple theme of the simplest ceremonies of

birth, marriage, death, of gathering at the gurdwara to share,

discuss and grow.

please forgive the rapid process of writing but the thoughts had been

moving in me for a long time. my educational needs to learn about the

spirit have never been met at the gurdwara - does this mean that the

guru had no teaching and learning strategy - i think not.

any thoughts pyareo?

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No offense but sounds like a frustrated missionary...

Although a lot of what he speaks can be said to be true, and myself experienced a similar outlook once, but I later realized that the fault lies within, i.e. not being able to understand etc. After making a push to understand a little more and paying more attention one gains more out of it themselves. (Duh!)

“bored by the meaninglessness of the guru's diwanâ€

In school the most boring class I had was French, partly due to the fact that I didn’t understand what was happening, but largely due to the fact that I didn’t see a purpose for it. (Not like I plan on ever working in Paris or Quebec).

Same I feel can be said by a lot of people for Sikhi in general, and thus the visiting of the Gurdwara is a socitial ritual people do just for acceptance so that they don’t get labeled demonic or athesist. (ie. avoid other people saying things like “HAWW, you don’t’ go to the Gurdwara!?? Do you believe in God?!? You’re a bad person, your going to hell†etc.)

The author seems to put a lot of the blame on the Gurdwara’s, precharaks or in his words, “heebie-jeebie merchantsâ€. The real fault I believe is at home with the parents. If parents don’t stress school and the importance of getting an education the chances of failure and dropout are that much higher. Same way if a parent doesn’t emphasize living a life of Gurmat then how will the child ever care for it.

Some can argue that well if the parents fail in this aspect then the Gurdwara should at least put emphasis on it, which they do. But, just like in school, the schools put emphasis on working towards post-secondary goals right from the start. (i.e In early grades through exercise that explore future careers) the end result however in most cases that I’ve seen being that if the child comes from a household where post-secondary isn’t given importance then the child will lack or show little interest regardless of how much of it is put on at school..

“my educational needs to learn about the spirit have never been met at the gurdwara - does this mean that the guru had no teaching and learning strategy - i think not.â€

Just like there are some good schools, and then there are better schools. Some schools offer more, while others due to resources & management don’t. Find a school (gurdhwara) where you can learn more. If you’re in a position where this can’t be a reality, then if you really want to learn then you’ll learn on your own. Get books and study, learn arth. When you get in the company of learned people (True Giani’s, mahpursh) discuss with them your questions and confusions and ask for there understandings.

In the end, “You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drinkâ€.

Forgive the mistakes in the above, just a bunch of rapid thoughts I thought to share after reading the original post.

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Guest Javanmard

shindasingh wrote:

In school the most boring class I had was French, partly due to the fact that I didn’t understand what was happening, but largely due to the fact that I didn’t see a purpose for it. (Not like I plan on ever working in Paris or Quebec).

Does this mean that one should only learn things that have economical value? What about the cultural value and importance of French and that if more of our people learnt French and French culture they would be more capable to fight against anti-Sikh laws in France and Quebec?

Did Guru Gobind Singh learn Sanskrit because it would bring him some economical advantage?

Are we Singhs with class and high culture or are we petty minded bania type greedy businessmen who history will forget?

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Dear Mr shaka nyorai,

There are many reasons why one may want to learn things. Financial, personal interest/hobbies, etc are all reasons which can contribute to one's interest in perusing some form of vidya. Some like to learn just for the sake of learning, others are motivated to learn something due to it contributing in some other aspect. This motivation will also vary the degree to which we learn something.

For me French had little purpose and still seemingly does, as it does not help me in any real form and as I have little interest in learning French just so people can say "oh he's educated", or so that I can charm people when trying to hustle or impress them in some respect.

It was with that reason that I never pursued or cared much for it. Again that was my whole point that I apparently failed to make, that being, in a broad general context, individuals do not tend to learn or pay attention to a form of vidya unless there is some form of motivation to do so. For a large population of those who visit the Gurdwara these days the main motivation behind it is the way others may view them if they don’t go. Thus, simply by going they satisfy that motive. For others who go to learn, they satisfy this motive by listening, and for those who go simply out of love and devotion they get what they go for in the end also.

Do not take this as me saying that French is useless, at the time and for me still I have little need for it, thus there is no motivation behind me learning it, and those presented by you of it making me seem more cultured has no real bearing.

Did Guru Gobind Singh learn Sanskrit because it would bring him some economical advantage?

Guru Sahib's wisdom is infinite and beyond comprehension, so I will not even begin to try and answer as to why Guru Sahib would do what they did, but like I said earlier there are many different forms of motivation for one to learn something beside that of just having an economical advantage.

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Guest Javanmard

Fair enough as long as you have other proper cultural interests such as music or other languages that's fine! I am just saying that as sikhs we should strive to be the intellectual elite wherever we go and not just think about the economical aspect of life (which has its place).

to palm_1:

read about European history and you'll know why French is still considered one of the most refined European languages. English has 60% of French words and there is a reason for that!

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haha! when i looked at this thread, i thought it was gonna be some sorta motivational thread tellin us why the Gurudwara's the best place to go because it provides us with so and so. hmmm...

i think that the guy who wrote the original message is onto something. but i also believe that shindasingh is onto something as well.

the Gurudwara is supposed to be a place of learning among many other things. i believe that's why it's important to have people who are educated on Gurbani lecture there. it's possible that whoever is doing katha has a different approach to a certain Shabad then what you've already heard and it could be beneficial to hear this other view.

as per the original post's author's negative view of people who go there to gawk at the building... well, there's people like that everywhere. the important thing is to remember YOUR own reason for going. if you aren't going there for a shallow experience, then ignore those who have nothing better to do than sit and chat and eat some free food. it's possible that these shallow visits they make to the Gurudwara may spark some interest in them for Gurbani.

the author of the original post also seems to have something against Gurudwaras looking beautiful. i can't imagine why he/she'd want to house SGGSJ in a home anything less than proper. would you place your most valuable items in the garbage or would you place it somewhere appropriate? similarly, SGGSJ is of utmost importance and the Living Guru. where would you place you Guru?

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Gurfateh, i totally agree with you sukhi..your absolutely right.

I think the author was trying to point out, however, that these days

we focus on how the gurudwara looks..and nothing much more than that.

I would rather have maharaj sitting with me in the back of an alley..but with beautiful souls, who have nothing but love..nothing but devotion..oozing in warmth and kindness..than have maharaj in a beautiful gurudwara..which, in regards to sangat, is anything but beautiful.

More importantly, its the people i.e. the "gyanis" and "sevadaars" who

disrespect our guru..i see this all the time..and it upsets me. ALOT.

Most the points raised by kanwar i totally agree with. Its just a matter of getting power..taking over.

Lallesvari is right..its all about vidiya..knowledge..whatever u wanna call it..then using this both inside and outside of the community.

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