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Sikh actress seeks advice


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taken from sikhportal site

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I thought this was interesting, if you have the time and patience please read, if not it would be interesting to read your answers to the three questions;

To: british_sikh_fed@btopenworld.com

From: Gurmukh Singh

Background: A query from a Sikh lady via the British Sikh Federation is as follows:

“I may be invited to take part in a panel discussion with a benedictine

Monk, an atheist and myself so I need careful briefing!”

Comment: It is always risky to talk about religion on the basis of briefing alone. Even own religion is a life time study in humility, and usually the more one studies the more humble one becomes and the desire to learn more of the Guru’s mind (Gurmatt) grows.

The questions are as follows:

1) Anger, gluttony, sloth, envy, pride, lust and greed, are the seven

deadly sins still relevant to today's society.

What is the Sikh perspective on each of these sins please.

2) What are the sins in Sikhism?

3) What are the modern sins of society?

General:

Relevant Sikh teaching points: It is important not to accept the terminology of other religious ideologies unquestioningly. Too often this is done in the name of interfaith harmony by compromising the unique position of Sikh teachings.

Sikhism is not dogma based and has no elaborate code but guiding principles derived from Sikh teachings in the Sikh holy Scripture, Guru Granth Sahib. Yet, the guiding precepts in Guru Granth Sahib can be interpreted collectively by the Sikhs as the theo-political nation, the Khalsa Panth, in accordance with the evolving needs of the human society.

Suggest start with one clear understanding in connection with this particular discussion:

Human life and body are sacred in Sikhism and have clear objectives. Develop all arguments from this understanding. The human body is to serve God’s creation and (through that selfless service) the purpose of human life is to achieve union with God, the unborn Creator-Being, the Ultimate Reality, before which all are equal.

The human “soul” (atma) resides in the human body. The “soul” is the same as one form of the mind called the “mann”. In its tranquil state, “mann” merges with the Universal Light (Jote), the Ultimate Reality or the Sikh concept of God, the Creator Being. “Mann” (as opposed to “matt” see below) is the wandering and yet the intuitive and creative part of the mind. “Mann” is the soul, the Light of the Lord, which resides in the human body, which is equated to a temple in Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Scripture.

The purpose of human life is union with the Lord Creator in this life – not after death, but in this life. It is clear from the above that this life objective can only be achieved by bringing the “mann”, to a steady, tranquil state. This state of equipoise is called the “sehaj avastha” or “sehaj anand”. This state can only be achieved by living a life of moderation, by serving God’s creation in humility and ultimately, through the Lord’s Grace. The human body in which the God’s light resides, is sacred and must be kept clean, healthy and active.

“Sin” in Sikhism: As mentioned at the outset, the terminology of other religious ideologies should not be allowed to compromise Sikh teachings. This is an area where Sikhism parts company with almost all other religious traditions. (The Sikh view about “sin” and “evil” has been explained in the publication “Sikh Religion & Islam” which I co-authored with S. Gurbachan Singh Sidhu – the publication is available from many Gurdwaras e.g. Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Hounslow and Ramgarhia Education Centre at Neville Road, East London. Also available on www.sikhpoint.com See Chapter 8)

Essentially, God created everything and everything is within God’s divine will (Hukam or Rzaa). Therefore, Sikhism does NOT accept the existence of any anti-God entity like Satan, Shaitan or Iblis. The concepts of “sin” or evil deeds need to be understood in the context of Sikh teachings.

What are listed as “deadly sins” are all symptoms of the same desease: forgetfulness of the purpose of this life. When the body is abused through over indulgence in the insatiable pleasures of this life, and the God’s temple – the human body - so desecrated, the disturbed mind is no longer calm. The disturbed and unsteady mind leads to abusive behaviour – towards self, others and the environment - and the state of equipoise (sehaj-anand) can no longer be achieved. And so the tortured mind inflicts pain on self and others.

Over-indulgence of any sort (e.g. eating, drinking and sleeping) is forbidden in the Sikh way of life.

Gurbani quotation are available e.g.Baba jit khaaday tan peerhiay…..Baba jit peetay tan peerhiay… etc and about balanced eating and sleeping by those who seek the ultimate objective of life…..”Jin sev keeee santokhaee……”)

About the specific questions: The first and second items are discussed briefly below just to give pointers to the Sikh view: Gluttony and sloth may be discussed with reference to what has been said above. Excessive eating (and smoking, alcoholism and drug abuse) and laziness, destroy the body, the sacred temple for the human soul (atma) awaiting union with the Lord Creator.

Sikh teachings warn against certain life forces, which in their negative or excessive state distract the mind (the “mann”) from the path of God-union i.e. the achievement of tranquility, equipoise or sehaj anand. The order in which these negative influences are usually mentioned is: lust (excessive sexual desire), anger, greed, attachment (to beings and things) and pride.

Regarding envy, the continual stress of Sikhism is on contentment (santokh): with envy in one’s heart it is not possible to achieve contentment. Do not envy those who are better off than you, but be content with what you have.

(e.g. Farida, dekh praaee chopri naa tarsai jio…)

Sikh teachings stress control of the thinking part of the mind (“matt”) over the wandering but creative part (“mann” - see above). Control, rather than destruction of the five life forces is stressed, because in the positive and moderate form they are all necessary for the continuation of life: sex for pro-creation, not anger but fearlessness and courage for a positive spirit (chardhi kalla) and to resist oppression and injustice; not greed but the need for saving and economic management to live the life of a successful householder; not attachment but the need for love and the need to do one’s duty towards family relationships while retaining underlying detachment; not false pride or vanity but living a life of honour and dignity.

The modern “sins” of society: Subject to what has been said above some pointers are given below:

Position of Sikhism regarding “sins” has been explained above. Sikhs see “sins” or “evil deeds” as behaviour or actions, which lead one away from the path of achieving the main objective of this life. Righteous conduct or discipline is self-imposed with that objective in mind.

Sex and drug abuses are resulting in the breakdown of the institution of marriage. Following this major threat, human rights abuses, terrorism to achieve group objectives, and wanton destruction of the environment are perhaps the other main threats to a stable society. Indeed, add the spread of weapons of mass destruction and we have a recipe for annihilation of the human race.

The Sikh institutions of family life, human equality and respect for the environment do address all these issues. The “mother earth” has also been called the temple of the Lord Creator. Respect for the air, the water and the earth is integral to Sikh teachings. Develop the discussion points accordingly.

Finally, Sikh teachings stress inner detachment while living a full life in the service of God’s creation. Constant God awareness, honest work, and sharing with those who need help is the Sikh way. A way of life which can resolve inner and out conflicts leading to true peace on earth when no-one inflicts pain on another. (Gurbani: Hun Hukam hoa Meharban da……..ej hoa halemi raaj jio.)

Gurmukh Singh

UK

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