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Sanatan Sikhs Talk 11/04 Review


Jungee
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hi,

sorry for the late feed back in regards to the talks in november.

Been away on business, thought some one else may have posted the articles on the net by now.

any way, below is the review of the first talk.

any constructive feedback welcome.

Review:

SANATAN SIKHS

Traditional to modern British Raj Sikhism

The series of talks which occurred in November 2004 were organized to make people more aware of their history; they were designed to cater for students studying philosophy, history, humanities, Asian languages, anthropology, and anyone with general interest. The talks were purely presented in a manner where one could do a comparative study of how dharma was practiced in the past with the present mainstream way of practicing a religion, but broadly Sikhism was the main religion used for illustration.

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The following is a review by several correspondents who have put in writing a concise breakdown of each seminar

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Lecture 1: DHARMA THROUGH THE AGES

'Dharma', the universal divine law of righteousness has existed since before the beginning of time. Throughout the four cosmic ages, Sat Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapar Yuga, and Kali Yuga, Dharma has been propagated according to the needs of the age.

As the great scribe, Bhai Gurdas Ji states:

In 'Satyug', 'Vishnu' in the form of 'Vasudev' is said to have incarnated and 'V' Of 'Va-He Guru' reminds of Vishnu.

The true Guru of Dwapar is said to be 'Hari Krishna', and 'H' of Va-He Guru reminds of Hari.

In the the 'Treta' was 'Raam' and 'R' of Va-He Guru tells that rembering Raam will produce joy and happiness.

In 'Kalijug', 'Gobind' is in the form of Nanak and 'G' of Va-He Guru gets Govind recited.

The recitations of all the four ages subsume in 'Panchayan' (the soul of the common man).

When joining four letters Va-He Guru is remembered, the 'jiv' (life force) merges again in its origin.

Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 1, Pauri 49

All the Sikh Gurus advised mankind to pursue 'Dharma' in whichever form an individual finds appropriate. For example, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first of the Sikh Gurus advised both Muslims and Hindus to removed the dirt that stains the soul, and seek compassion and truth, only then may they consider themselves to be true devotees of their faith.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji explains in his writings of how all creation is one, but misunderstandings are of many types. Where a Hindu may refer to the Almighty as 'Apekh', a Muslim may use the term 'Allah', and a Sikh may utilise 'Va-He Guru'. The sacred Qu'ran and Puraanas speak of the glory of the Almighty, but due to dogma, ego, and ignorance, the focus is lost, and man begins to fight with his neighbour.

The fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji commented:

'Some say 'Raam, Raam', some 'Khuda'. Some serve God, believing him to be 'Gursai', some 'Allah'. The Creator, the merciful One is but one. Some bathe at Hindu pilgrim centers, others go to Mecca. Some pray in the Hindu manner, some in the Muslim.

Some read 'Vedas', some Katebs. Some advocate wearing blue, others white. Some call themselves Muslim, others Hindu. Some desire to go to 'Bahist' (Muslim heaven), some desire 'Surgind' (Hindu heaven).

Says Nanak, only he knows the true secret of the Master; one who recognizes his divine will.' Adi Guru Durbar, 'Raag Ramkali', Pa. 885

Bhagat Kabir, the Muslim Hindu saint asked if all men are creations of the same Almighty, then who is better or worse?

It is this universal 'Dharma' that all great beings such as Raam, Krishna, Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), Jesus Christ, Buddha, Bhagat Kabir, Sheikh Farid, Ramanand, Jaidev, Akali Guru Nanak, etc., all sought to perpetuate. That Dharma, which binds and harmonises humanity.

Lecture 2: ESTABLISHING DHARMA

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Clockwise from top left:

1. Sriman 108 Sant Ji Maharaj Shri Dhian Das Ji Dhoonay Valay Malipur

(left) and Sriman 108 Sant Ji Maharaj Shri Charan Das Ji Dhoonay Valay

Malipur (right)

2. Sriman 108 Baba Sham Singh Ji Sewa Panthi

3. Jatha of Akali Nihang Singhs, c. 1840-50

4. Sriman 108 Baba Gyan Dev Singh Nirmala, the present head of the

Nirmala order

After a first successful lecture at Queen Mary University, Gurdev Nihang Nidar Singh (ShastarVidiya Teacher) approaches the question of how dharma is established by Guru Gobind Singh. In front of an audience coming from various religious and ethnic backgrounds (Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Rastafarians, Atheists) Nihang Nidar Singh has explained how Guru Gobind Singh used four orders or sampradayas to protect dharma against its worse enemy: religious fanaticism. The four orders are: the Udasis, the Sevapanthis, the Nirmalas and Nihangs. One needs to understand that these are not sects as they are not offshoots of Sikhi but orders comparable to Special Forces in an army.

The Udasis, mystics and specialists of Ayurveda had as a mission to bring the awareness of Nam Simran and devotion among people. As itinerant preachers they spread Sikhi to place such as Bihar, Sindh (hence the Sindhi Sikhs), Bengal, Nepal and even Russia! Because they circulated among and looked like sadhus they were able to look after Sikhs shrines during times of persecution. They also acted as spies for the Khalsa informing the Singhs of enemy troop movements.

The Sevapanthis have their origin in Bhai Khanaya who dedicated his life to selfless service. The order was given the mission to serve all beings and be embodiments of compassion. Known for being non-violent Sevapanthis would rather die than killing even if it were to save their own lives. Under Addan Shah this famous order has received a scholarly dimension. Gurbani, comparative religion as well as Sufi writings were studied.

The Nirmalas were founded by Guru Gobind Singh 1686 as an order of scholars who had as a mission to offer education to the Sikhs and others as well as fight against religious fanaticism by challenging narrow minded scholars. One only needs to think of Pandit Lal Singh who destroyed brahminical caste discrimination using Sanskrit sources. The Nirmalas’ intellectual, cultural and theological contributions to the Sikh Panth are invaluable. Bhai Santokh Singh and Giani Gian Singh are probably some of the most renowned Nirmala scholars who through their Suraj Prakash Granth and Panth Prakash have enabled Sikh tradition and history to be known to us today.

The Nihangs were the original Khalsa, knights serving Akal Purakh with a mission to protect not only Sikhs but all those who were persecuted by fanatics of all kind. Bearers of a unique tradition of religious chivalry the Nihangs are probably the only example of such a tradition nowadays.

These orders were all part of Guru Gobind Singh’s struggle against fanaticism and establishment of dharma. Nihang Nidar Singh clearly showed how the concept of dharma in Sikhi was beyond sectarian definitions and how the institutions of Guru Gobind Singh served a universal ideal: dharma, the order of the universe. Dharma is what keeps the planets moving, it is what regulates nature's seasons, it is the deep nature of each one of us. If we ignore dharma we suffer and provoke suffering. Fanatics of any religion be they Sikh, Hindu, Muslim or Christian, by enforcing his religion on others go against dharma by creating an imbalance as the diversity of religions is part of the divine order. The diverse religions of humanity that have been revealed why God are all expressions of the same divine and eternal order of things: all creation worships the One Divine. In British society where many communities live next to another without living with each other this message of unity within diversity would be of great profit not only to Sikhs but to all members of society. Dharma as the son of Compassion provides for the good of all: in this lies the true mission of the Khalsa.

Lecture 3: WAR AGAINST RELIGIOUS FANATICS ( 18TH century)

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Left: Emperor Aurangzeb, c. 1700

Right: Banda Bahadur, wallpainting, late 19th century

Review to be added soon

Some picture from the series of talks:

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Only a few pictures to be added, as some people requested not have there pictures viewed on the net.

(i.e government officials, civil servants,

and mainly girls)

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The slides from all talks:

a) 4 Sanatan Sikh talks in London

B) Shastar Vidiya talk at Kings College London

c) Sanatan Sikh talk at Warwick Uni

d) Upcoming talk on Sikh women at Warwick Uni

....will all be coming shortly on www.sarbloh.info (..just as soon as my code decides to stop being so hormonal!!)

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We had around 3 people film the talks simultaneously. From what I gather, we have some ppl editing the clips. Once thats complete, some hocus-pocus is done, and it goes online.

Rough dates - probably early Summer considering the schedule is already jam packed.

Sukhi, I'm not too keen on berries (despite the reference to 'jam' earlier)...but some Canadian Maple Syrup wudnt be so bad... :oops:

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