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our gurus, our gods and more.


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I read something attributed to Nietzche which i'll attempt to paraphrase here from memory,

our debt to our ancestors grows with time, the need for us to sacrifice for the sake of the tribe and the ancestors increases until the ancestors transform into god. In which case we can never repay the debt because their legend is of monstrously proportions.

Forgive me, if i've missed important parts of the message or if i've misquoted.

My question is this. Have our gurus become into gods? Has the debt of the countless sikhs who sacrificed and sacrificed through the years grown to a monstrous stature. Do we view our ancestors as super human - as heros who cannot be touched, and who make us appear weak and insignificant in comparison? Do we not revere our gurus and their sikhs as though they are fantastic immensely powerful overlooking figures.

I think if you accept this hypothesis then it means our religion has basically expired. We can never come close to representing our historical brothers and sisters. We cant even imagine making an impact like they did, or even contemplate coming close to performing their feats and sacifices.

Is sikhi dead because it leaves behind a beautiful, perfect footprint which can never be matched and thus us comtempory sikhs are resigned to a fate of insignificance? Sure that doesnt have to be that way. But i think, because we have the shadows of our ancestors watching us, we will pale into insignificance. Indeed, i think we have already.

The sikh 'religion' might live on. But it will be just like all the other religions. It will be of hypocrisy, a tool for glueing societies the way the elite and powerful want them. Sikhi simply wont have the revolutionary social focus behind it. It wont be about spiritual things, it will be about religious things.

I wonder.

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i think you're forgetting about the roles that humility and modesty play in Sikhi.

if you're truly humble and modest, then you see yourself as the lowest of the low. so of course, you could never live up to those ideals.

secondly, those ideals aren't there to be paid some eternal "debt" to. we don't owe anything to anybody.

but they're there to inspire us to be better than what we are.

maybe i've got a different interpretation of gurbani and the gurus than you do, sexysingh. but i've always thought of the guru's as being individuals that one can relate to.

i know some people want ever itty bitty little thing the gurus did to be highly metaphorical. and yeah, they might be right. but it's hard not to see the humour and humane sides of the gurus.

for example. i once heard a sakhi of guru gobind singh ji when he was a kid.

and i'm paraphrasing here, cuz i don't remember the sakhi perfectly.

guru gobind singh ji used to wear two gold karey as a child, and he apparently didn't like it. so he threw one of his karey into a river. so his mum comes up to him and goes, where's your kara?

and itty bitty guru gobind singh ji goes, which one?

ggsj: you mean the one that looks like this?

mum: yeah.

ggsj: (takes off the other gold kara and throws it into the river too)

over there.

now... if you wanna see this as a metaphor, you'll see how guru gobind singh ji, even as a young child, recognized the unimportance of material wealth.

but it's hard not to see the humour in it. can you imagine doing that in front of your mom and not gettin a couple of good shittars for it?! :LOL:

i just happen to think that the gurus knew how to get their message across, but they defo had fun doing it. i dun think they were trying to be superhuman and show us that we're nothing in comparison to them.

but we see it like that cuz it might be something we need to see.

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sukhi... i think u've missed the point sexy was making. he's not talking about what the gurus & other comtemporary sikhs were like, but the modern day perception of what they were like.

as the old adage goes... don't speak ill of the dead... follow that for long enough & the dead have never done anything wrong... they are the image of perfection... & so, an ideal that can never be attained. in some ways it can be a good thing... setting ur targets high to push urself, but all too often the unattainable results in ppl trying to do the impossible... leading to all sorts of problems like sexual repression, social exclusivity etc.

very insightful post sexy... of course it's only a matter of time before we become the ideal for our descendents!

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Nietzche is also assuming that you have been reincarnating in 'only' one religion for the past x amount years in which you carried this debt. Perhaps in your past religin you were a muslim, then you must owe your muslim ancestor a great deal of debt. if we have been reincarnating in the families of different religion and adapting that religion we have created so much debt to our ancestor that it would be impossible to balance it out.

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sukhi... i think u've missed the point sexy was making. he's not talking about what the gurus & other comtemporary sikhs were like, but the modern day perception of what they were like.

as the old adage goes... don't speak ill of the dead... follow that for long enough & the dead have never done anything wrong... they are the image of perfection... & so, an ideal that can never be attained. in some ways it can be a good thing... setting ur targets high to push urself, but all too often the unattainable results in ppl trying to do the impossible... leading to all sorts of problems like sexual repression, social exclusivity etc.

very insightful post sexy... of course it's only a matter of time before we become the ideal for our descendents!

oookay... but tha's what i was talkin about. the fact that it might seem necessary for us to view the dead as being perfect in order to challenge ourselves to be more than what we are. hence, the inspiration bit.

am i becoming confusing again?! :?

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oookay... but tha's what i was talkin about. the fact that it might seem necessary for us to view the dead as being perfect in order to challenge ourselves to be more than what we are. hence, the inspiration bit.

am i becoming confusing again?! :?

that's a valid point of view... but then we have the issue of what is 'perfect'? each person will see the dead in their own image. which can lead to a host of problems (eg some ppl find it offensive that guru gobind singh ji had 3 wives, others find it offensive that some try to say he only had 1 wife). also, over-eulogising past figures can lead to other problems like ppl aiming too high in life & then beating themselves up when they cannot live up to the image.

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I agree with sukhi's first post about the reason for such high veneration being humility.

Even the Gurus, who were the same Light of Guru Nanak, always spoke of Guru Nanak as “Vade Satguru†or “Supreme Guruâ€.

Some historical Sikhs we do hold in that “unattainable image†for justified reasons. For example, didn’t Guru Hargobind ji honor Baba Budha ji by saying “you are the highest example of a Sikh, everâ€. And how can we ever compare any Sikh scholar to Bhai Gurdass whose Bani has been designated as the “key†to SGGS by Guru Arjan Dev ji himself.

I think this tradition of high veneration of accomplished souls before us is beneficial. If we have Bhai Kahnayia from the time of Guru Gobind Singh ji, we also have Bhagat Puran Singh having the same kind of veneration. Some other soul will be inspired by Bhagat Puran Singh and he too will become a gem of the Panth, and the future generations will venerate him as well.

Oh, and sexysingh, do you have any solutions to this “problem�

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that's a valid point of view... but then we have the issue of what is 'perfect'? each person will see the dead in their own image. which can lead to a host of problems (eg some ppl find it offensive that guru gobind singh ji had 3 wives, others find it offensive that some try to say he only had 1 wife). also, over-eulogising past figures can lead to other problems like ppl aiming too high in life & then beating themselves up when they cannot live up to the image.

okay, the point of having a "perfect ideal" is to aspire to it. not kill yourself if you can't make it. if you're doing that, then you're engaged in an unhealthy internal dialogue.

secondly, what's so bad about having debates about what "perfect" constitutes? if you don't discuss your own ideas with others regardless of what they're about, how do expect to get any change or betterment?

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okay, the point of having a "perfect ideal" is to aspire to it. not kill yourself if you can't make it. if you're doing that, then you're engaged in an unhealthy internal dialogue.

secondly, what's so bad about having debates about what "perfect" constitutes? if you don't discuss your own ideas with others regardless of what they're about, how do expect to get any change or betterment?

in an ideal world u would be completely right... however, unfortunately this is not an ideal world. having an internalised image of perfection with the intention of using it as a target in life is fine, but all too often that image of perfection is used to clobber others who are seen as not living up to it. u also have the possible situation where the person being eulogised may have had one or two shortcomings. if they are seen as perfect, then their shortcomings would be seen as such too.

regarding the discussion on what "perfect" is... once again, in an ideal world where everyone listens to each other with humility... discussions are feasible. but what is all too often the case is that either side sees the others views as a personal attack (as the "perfect ideal" is in their own image). ermmm... there's meant to be more to this, but i can't think straight coz i'm sleepy... will finish it off later.

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nice discussion guys. guv, its not just our gurus who become a perfect ideal .. but equally importantly, the sikhs who were around them, and the sikhs who came afterwards. I dont know about anyone else, but i feel pretty inferior compared to my ancestors. But when i look at the world around me, well maybe im not too bad compared to other religious folk. I dont mean for this to sound arrogant although no doubt it does.

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nice discussion guys. guv, its not just our gurus who become a perfect ideal .. but equally importantly, the sikhs who were around them, and the sikhs who came afterwards. I dont know about anyone else, but i feel pretty inferior compared to my ancestors. But when i look at the world around me, well maybe im not too bad compared to other religious folk. I dont mean for this to sound arrogant although no doubt it does.

I see what you are saying in this thread..and agree to most of it.. :D

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in an ideal world u would be completely right... however, unfortunately this is not an ideal world. having an internalised image of perfection with the intention of using it as a target in life is fine, but all too often that image of perfection is used to clobber others who are seen as not living up to it. u also have the possible situation where the person being eulogised may have had one or two shortcomings. if they are seen as perfect, then their shortcomings would be seen as such too.

regarding the discussion on what "perfect" is... once again, in an ideal world where everyone listens to each other with humility... discussions are feasible. but what is all too often the case is that either side sees the others views as a personal attack (as the "perfect ideal" is in their own image). ermmm... there's meant to be more to this, but i can't think straight coz i'm sleepy... will finish it off later.

i see what you're saying. so then what's your solution to all of this? to simply stop discussing things cuz they oftentimes become heated discussions? are we supposed to stick to what we know and not care about possibly learning something from someone else?

and exactly what are we supposed to do with people who clobber others for not agreeing with their beliefs? personally, i just let them have their own way if there's nothing to learn from them and move onto something else.

or am i getting confused again as to what we're discussing?

sexysingh, there's no need to feel inferior. the point is to ASPIRE to greatness. if you can do that, you're already greater than you think you are. just dun let it get to your head.

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I look around me, at the sikhs and i see them preoccupied with their careers, with their families, with their purposefully blissful ignorance. They have no trouble living in a state of not taking serious things seriously. All of this is trivially dwarfed by the unwillingness of the modern sikh to DO anything. They simply wont get involved. Why should they, after all, when there are perfectly better things to do like building up wealth and making sure their kids succeed in school and life. The sikh pyche is completely impotent when it comes to taking action.

Now, this unwillingness doesnt distinguish sikhs amongst others. It is the norm. So my above paragraph could easily apply to any other group of so called average people. However the impotency of the sikh only becomes painfully apparent when compared with the past sacrifices of the sikh tribe. I need not mention them here, im sure we all have a good idea of the kind of feats im referring.

Our last misadventure was crushed, in part because of our willingness to enter into a conspiracy and the lacking capacity of telling fact from fiction. Our legions so diluted and uneven in character or faith. A growing obsession with peripheral notions of appearance and a decidedly pathetic lack of courage. The usual ruse of blaming culture, when it is that very culture that contained our best qualities. Is it not beautiful that multitudes of colours, religions and cultures found that one particular place to call home, the literature and the richness of diversity was once celebrated, and now the idea itself seems suspicious and loaded with agenda?

Someone explain to me how the sikhs can have any sort of meaningful voice today. Why is it so cliched for us to hold on to our past, citing the achievements of our ancestors as some sort of proof of our valour, our valour? We havent done anything. What have we done recently? Nothing. What will we do tomorrow? Nothing again. Sikhi is dead, in the way we knew it - a force of action, of change.

Oh, and sexysingh, do you have any solutions to this “problem�
I dont think such a 'solution' exists. Its too little, too late. Sikhism is huge now. It has become a Religion, like other religions. We can only just ride the wave. To make things easier, perhaps we can be more honest when we claim what is, or isnt, acceptable by 'Sikhism'. But that would imply giving up some benefits of power - which isnt something anyone will do willingly. Anyway, enough for now, end post.
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Iam sorry .. i accept any criticism about my previous post. If the usual sikh propaganda is cliched, then my criticism is just as much cliche. I promise i wont repeat it here again! I find comfort in humanity more than i do in religion and i shouldnt hold that against religion itself.

I think its time i left this board before i annoy you fine people with my negativity .. bye!

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I read something attributed to Nietzche which i'll attempt to paraphrase here from memory,

our debt to our ancestors grows with time, the need for us to sacrifice for the sake of the tribe and the ancestors increases until the ancestors transform into god. In which case we can never repay the debt because their legend is of monstrously proportions.

Forgive me, if i've missed important parts of the message or if i've misquoted.

My question is this. Have our gurus become into gods? Has the debt of the countless sikhs who sacrificed and sacrificed through the years grown to a monstrous stature. Do we view our ancestors as super human - as heros who cannot be touched, and who make us appear weak and insignificant in comparison? Do we not revere our gurus and their sikhs as though they are fantastic immensely powerful overlooking figures.

I think if you accept this hypothesis then it means our religion has basically expired. We can never come close to representing our historical brothers and sisters. We cant even imagine making an impact like they did, or even contemplate coming close to performing their feats and sacifices.

Is sikhi dead because it leaves behind a beautiful, perfect footprint which can never be matched and thus us comtempory sikhs are resigned to a fate of insignificance? Sure that doesnt have to be that way. But i think, because we have the shadows of our ancestors watching us, we will pale into insignificance. Indeed, i think we have already.

The sikh 'religion' might live on. But it will be just like all the other religions. It will be of hypocrisy, a tool for glueing societies the way the elite and powerful want them. Sikhi simply wont have the revolutionary social focus behind it. It wont be about spiritual things, it will be about religious things.

I wonder.

no, i dont think so. The Guru's never called themselves God at all, thus stating that they aren't God, but simply Devotee's of God. also, Sikhi isn't dead, the fllowers are dead, we simply call our selves Sikhs with no emotion or pride, we dont live by the standards of Sikhi anymore. yes, some or many sikhs still are true devotees as we've seen in our past, but to me i dont think there are any true believers. Yes there are amritdhari Sikhs, but from what ive seen/heard they aren't true Sikhs. They cuss, some eat meat, some drink alcohol (they cant be amritshari's then after drinking), etc. Sikhi will always live (as you've said so), the beauty of it will, but the followers wont, unless we unite together like in the past and love ourselves, God, our religon, the Guru's, and everyone else in this world. No, we shouldnt consider ourselves insignificant at all, we are all equal, but our deeds on this earth will judge us, they will make us higher or lower, the sins we do, the love and help we give, i think all play a factor in us being considered insignificant or not. I Know that we as Sikhs can restore our old greatness, its just a matter of time, once we realize who we are, once society chanegs soo much that we need to return to our old selves, to have an identity. i think u may be right when u say

Sikhi simply wont have the revolutionary social focus behind it. It wont be about spiritual things, it will be about religious things.
Sikhi needs to stay spiritual, other religions are about how to live ones life on earth, what to do, fasting, pilgrimmage, there just simply isnt a lot offered about spirituality, but Sikhi is there to give it to us and we need to realize this. i hope Sikhism doesnt become what all the other religions have become as time progress, but it seems like it has. (no offence to anyone just stating my thought)
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