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Ascend

In the moments we are alone, we are delusional and dead. Everything becomes separate and nothing flows in unison – we are no longer in touch with the miracle known as life. Then how do we flee such delusion and come back to the plane of content where only One abides? Mindfulness.

Let the breeze be God’s subtle whisper, the rain His cooling touch, the stars His infinite eyes, the sun His glowing truth, the stillness His silent presence, and the people an extension of Godliness. Nowhere can we evade the loving warmth and compassion of the true Lord. How can we ever be alone, especially when God resides within every universe, galaxy, planet, living creature, cell, and atom. God is energy and everything within and out of it. Proven by science – energy can never be created nor destroyed. Energy can never be born nor can it die. Energy is what gives all matter form and vibration. Science has shed light on some of the mystery, but has failed to even come close to God’s limitless grace. Man will never be able to comprehend such an omnipotent power.

Judgment from past conditioning has colored the lens through which we perceive the world. Our innocence and purity has slowly eroded through the corruption of thought. Wrongful thoughts and desires born from rage, ego, greed, lust, and attachment have distanced the pure soul from all perception.

We have neglected the God within for the illusive desires without. Hence, we have robbed ourselves of content and peace by neglecting the beautiful sea of Godliness that flows within our very own soul. We have been imprisoned by our five senses, captives to nothing more than an illusion that is temporary and fleeting. Whatever has come to be, has morphed and recycled into the Earth and greater universe. Why then is man running away from the bright truth by seeking dark shadows under the thorny rose-bush. He will surely be met by ignorance, pain, and suffering for the rose can only provide so much pleasure.

There is sunshine and light everywhere within God’s infinite kingdom, yet we have chosen the path of pain and suffering in the darkness. We were not born in this darkness, but for some reason we have chosen to seek it.

Being mindful of the present moment allows one to put aside previous man-made conceptions of what is. One becomes content with the present no matter what it may hold. Nonjudgmental of the moment, we do not seek pleasure or pain, but only oneness which brings content. Time recedes, space becomes trivial, and desires begin to shrivel in the face of an eternal and immortal moment. Even death runs away. Epicurus once said, “Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not”

Nothing that happens in this life could have been diverted nor is it baseless. Everything that transpires, happens in the realm of God so it cannot be evil, malicious, or cruel. These negatives have only been created in the mind, because the mind is fueled by duality and confusion. A mind that is lost sees only duality, because duality breeds our desire for pain and pleasure, fun and boredom, anger and peace, and birth and death. When we eliminate the duality and the desire for something that is not, we find content.

Whatever is happening should be happening and is happening under the will of the Supreme Lord. We may not understand this with the five senses given to us for we are nothing more than a trillionth part of a dust molecule in the grand scheme of the infinite. However, when we do understand and contemplate that all is immortal and eternal with God within all – we really begin to live and grow as spiritual beings having a human experience.

Only in this moment will you find what you have been looking for your whole life. In the death of desire and fantasy, truth is born and God is revealed. God has provided for all eternity, and His presence has been still.

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The 3HO Sikhs have inspired me for countless years as a Punjabi Sikh in the United States; however, a simple google search opens the door for heated controversy and debate. Is 3HO a cult?

“The 3HO Foundation is a Global Community of people who practice and share the teachings of Yogi Bhajan so that they may serve, inspire, and empower humanity to be healthy, happy, and holy. 3HO’s Global Community is comprised of people who are dedicated to living a life that uplifts and inspires. Over the past 40 years, 3HO has become a vibrant, dynamic community of leaders, teachers, students, and seekers practicing the time-proven technology of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation as taught by Yogi Bhajan grounded and centered in a philosophy of compassion and kindness. People from all walks of life and on every continent share this technology and are experiencing their potential, realizing peace in their inner world, and participating in a healthful lifestyle.” [www.3HO.org]

I have been well aware of the 3HO organization for years, and I have been inspired by the lifestyle as well as the authenticity. Living in California and attending the annual Sikh parade in Los Angeles, I would see the grace of the 3Ho community serving side by side with native Sikhs and non Sikhs alike. Many men and women have joined the Khalsa brotherhood which abolishes all caste, creed, and economic class. In reality there is no Punjabi or 3HO Sikh, because Sikhism is an experience for humanity and in no way exclusive to any one group, race, or people. Sikhism carries a universal message of compassion, service, and selflessness.

Yoga is an intrinsic pillar in the lives of most 3HO Sikhs as taught by Yogi Bhajan decades ago in America. Kundalini Yoga is a powerful experience with chanting, stretching, and breathing exercises which serve to increase both energy and self-awareness. Many people find peace, relaxation, and profound changes within themselves after such revitalizing yoga. I have not had the chance to partake in Kundalini Yoga as of yet, but I am waiting to experience it for myself. Today many “Sikhs” are blind sighted by anything that seems to have any relevance with Hindu practices after years of turmoil in India; hence, many are skeptical of the merging of Sikhism with yoga. However, they are missing a fundamental part of Sikhism in that analysis. Meditation and naam jaap are vital to reaching the gates of God in Sikhism. The balance of Miri Piri ensured by Guru Hargohind Singh Ji made a profound impact on the physical upkeep of the body. Spiritually, socially, mentally, and physically one must remain balanced.

Exercise releases endorphins which are just as powerful as many anti-depressants prescribed by doctors. In the book, Spark, Dr. John Ratey expands on amazing research showing how the brain is directly affected by exercise. Memory is increased, mental strain lessened, stress decreased, and neurological pathways strengthened. Exercise acts as a fertilizer to create new branches and strengthen old ones in the brain. In addition with all the mental benefits the physical ones are apparent and well known. Now combine exercise with mental discipline and you get yoga. Whether the person takes it spiritually or religiously is solely up to them, but the benefits are undeniable and should not be tossed aside with misconception and ignorance.

One Sikh cannot tell another that jogging or cardiovascular exercise is not apart of the Sikh religion or philosophy prescribed by the Gurus, and in the same way one Sikh cannot tell another that yoga is not a part of Sikhism. Both induce better health and have only positive effects on the body. Hence, yoga is a great vehicle to get in shape physically and mentally and should be given a chance and practiced with spirituality in mind.

Rick Ross has created an internet site where he cites the danger of various cults, and the 3HO is one of his “concerns.” Rick Ross himself has had a rocky life and has been arrested, sued, and indicted for many false accusations causing him to file bankruptcy in his latter career. Although these statements about the man may be personal, it is important to get his perspective of who he is and what he has been through to see where he is coming from. His advocation against “cults” began after his own religion, Judaism, was influenced by a church and many converted out of it. He felt that he needed to stop the church, and hence began his short lived career of “intervention.” Perhaps his narrow-mindedness can be found in his fear of losing what he finds himself so close to – his faith Judaism.

Rick Ross assumes many things about the 3HO organization, but has done very little to hinder the Sikh lifestyle in America. The attack leveled against the organization is pointed more strongly at Sikhism than the organization himself. His misunderstanding of the Sikh faith has skewed his perspective on what Sikhism is all about. It is not simply a religion, instead Sikhism is an intense voyage of experience lived through a discipline lifestyle. Sikhs believe in destroying the ego while surrendering to a merciful God who has created the entire Universe with love, compassion, honesty, and humility. Sikhs believe in prayer, mediation, faith, and One God above all. Sikhs believe in raising a family, and living in the world of possession with a great sense of detachment. Sikhs believe that the Khalsa is an order of brotherhood where Truth is to be upheld by justice. Sikhs are seekers of truth that walk a lonely path, not seeking approval by all, but only of the one and only Lord of all. Sikhism is open for all who are trying to find themselves within themselves. God = Truth.

A letter from John Smith of the Atheist Society expresses the universal appeal of Sikhism:

” Dear Ali, please help us. We were very impressed with your website and agreed that religion in general is no longer needed, we can all be humanistic and live in peace and harmony. We are in the process of making a website which will hopefully help to destroy the religious doctrines which divide humanity. We were doing great with knocking out Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Baha’i, even Buddhism but we have gotten very stuck with Sikhism. This religion is (to put it nicely) “a big pain in the <admin-profanity filter activated>” (Please pardon the language) We have only found one site which tries (very poorly) to argue that even this religion is not needed, but the argument is irrational and very unscientific unlike the very rational arguments you use.


When we read the following from your website, we found what you said to be amazingly interesting: “Doubt Everything Find Your Own Light.” “Last Words Dear friend, if you look for meaning in life, don’t look for it in religions; don’t go from one cult to another or from one guru to the next. You can expend all your life or look for eternity and will find nothing but disappointment and disillusionment. Look instead in service to humanity. You will find “meaning” in your love for other human beings. You can experience God when you help someone who needs your help. The only truth that counts is the love that we have for each other. This is absolute and real. The rest is mirage, fancies of human imagination and fallacies of our own making.” By Ali Sina Why is this interesting? Because we found this religion of Sikhism to be in agreement with you! This is why we have a problem. We tried to look at their holy text (Adi Granth) but didnt find the usual absurdities we found in the other religious books. In fact its refreshingly inspiring and very good!? Maybe you can have some better luck.

We tried to visit a couple of websites and got more of a shock. Did you know that they believed in Democracy, freedom of speech, choice, expression, freedom of religion, pluralism, human rights, equality between men and women, equality of all people regardless of race, religion, caste, creed, status etc. 300 years before the existance of the USA! Theirs is the only religion which says in their religious scriptures that women are equal in every respect to men. They even had women soldiers leading armies in to battle against “you know who” (The usual suspects – Muslims!) Their history is a proud one, they fought in both World Wars. Even Hitler praised them for their bravery and Aryan heritage! Dear Ali, this religion is hard for us to try and criticise but you are an expert and may find some faults overlooked by us. In their holy book, there is a round earth, water is made from chemical elements, there is even mention of the evoution process, big bang and life on other planets! This is pretty crazy and amazing stuff, who would have thought that these New York taxi drivers (There are lots of Sikh taxi drivers in NY) would have such an amzing faith? We read up some information of what Bertrand Russell had to say about Sikhism, this is the man who destroyed Christianity (same applies to Islam and Judaism) and exposed its absurdities, but even this great man got stuck when it came to Sikhism! In fact he gave up and said “that if some lucky men survive the onslaught of the third world war of atomic and hydrogen bombs, then the Sikh religion will be the only means of guiding them. Russell was asked that he was talking about the third world war, but isn’t this religion capable of guiding mankind before the third world war? In reply, Russell said, “Yes, it has the capability, but the Sikhs have not brought out in the broad daylight, the splendid doctrines of this religion which has come into existence for the benefit of the entire mankind. This is their greatest sin and the Sikhs cannot be freed of it.”

Please bear in mind that Bertrand Russell was a great philosopher and free thinker. We have been trying for weeks now to find a way to fairly and rationally criticize and find fault with this religion but have failed. We even found out that there are many people converting to this religion in the USA and Europe as well as Russia (Mostly well educated and affluent white people). We tried to find some of their literature and see what kind of claims they make, but unfortunatley they have no missionary material as they do not have missionsaries! People become Sikh by learning usually by chance or by coming in to contact with them. They are currently the 5th biggest religion in the world and growing quite fast in the west and Russia. Please help us as we are stuck, to give you an example of they are all about we found the following websites: http://www.sikhnet.com (This is a pretty good site and helpful) http://www.hope.at/sikhism (This site is very easy to follow, check it out, they have a Womans section and a Martyrs section, it looks like that you are not the only one trying to expose the falseness of Islam, Sikhs scholars did it hundreds of years ago and got killed for it!) http://www.sikhs.org (This is the site that was on CNN when Sikhs in the USA were mistaken for Arabs and Middle Easterners and were attacked by mindless morons)

Please help us out, we cant make our website about religion being the cause of war and disharmony when we have this one and only religion which makes a hell of a lot of sense! lol (I thought Atheism had all the answers but were kind of stuck now.) We look forward to hearing from you, we respect your great views and want to promote them to everyone, thank you for your time, take care.

Dr. John Smith “

Those who do not understand the basic tenets of the Sikh lifestyle and perspective cannot try to expose what they know nothing of. This is exactly what happened with Rick Ross and his blind-sighted plunge into defeating something that was different. These white people look different with turbans and beards. They get an overflow of energy from this yoga and chanting, so something must be wrong. There must be some kind of trance that is changing these people in such dramatic ways. Different does not mean wrong or weird, because to me difference is beautiful. In the Guru Granth Sahib, the Guru compares the religions and philosophies of the world to a gorgeous and vibrant garden. Each flower bringing uniqueness and beauty.

Some find so much happiness that others begin questioning how and why. Some find so much faith and love in God that people ask who has changed them into a different person. Some fall in love so much with life and surrender to His will that people ask if they were manipulated. Some find another path to lead them, so people ask if they were converted. Are we as humanity so limited that we fear for change in our own lives, but even more in the lives of those around us. Why can’t people be happy if people have found their happiness elsewhere. All paths lead to the One God, so what is there to fear.

Be open. love life. Accept Others. I believe the 3HO organization put it right when they came up with “Healthy, Holy, Happy” Its a great motto for a great life.

Those who do not understand the path will mock it, and call it oppressive to free thinking. They love their ego too much to see how it is suffocating their real soul which is infinite beyond life and death. Yogi Bhajan said that people do not rebel against religious institutions, but instead they rebel against self discipline in their lives. Religion gives us that self discipline, and those who cannot sit with themselves and realize this, run from religion outwardly but from themselves inwardly. Yogi Bhajan also said that religion is not for everybody, but it is for anybody. We all awaken at our own times in life, and we will be on different levels when we do. We all will march together toward the light as ONE.

-GOD BLESS

                   Biology class is finally over and learning human anatomy has really made me think about being a human carnivore. Strip the human of the outer epidermis, the skin, and within you see the flesh of any other animal. We are animals with a higher consciousness, but the main ingredients are very much similar. From the genetic code to the actual flesh there is little difference between a human and another organic living creature. The grand exception comes from the ability to consciously be aware of time, existence, and emotion. We are superior only because of a highly wired and intricate highway system of neuro-pathways that shoot across millions of paths each second.

               I was watching a video of a human dissection and it was truly fascinating. The cadaver looked fresh and the whole body was in amazing condition. The face had an expression of awe with the mouth drawn open and the eyes peacefully closed on the chopping board of sorts. The presiding doctor who was doing the dissection began picking away at the different levels of tissue to get into the organs as the face remained composed and cold. I was sure he was dead when the doctor chopped out the heart for closer inspection. I guess that clip inflicted more pain on me than the dead father, son, or grandparent laying on the dissection table. The fate of us all may not be in an itunes video about dissection, but death is surely an inevitable and inescapable ticket. It made me think in a deeper perspective of the daily ego we so easily stride around carrying high and heavy. Perhaps the animals we munch on for dinner have a clearer conscious and unity with the universe than the ignorant man who appears to dine with superiority. 

                 Every cell in the human body lives to function and survive for the overall good of the system. The cell if damaged or dysfunctional may even kill itself for the survival of the greater tissue it lives for. There is no weekend or coffee break, as my professor says, for the cell and like a horse it works until its demise. Regulating organelles, ions, division, particle immigration, and thousands of other jobs each cell makes Obama’s job seem like a piece of cake. Dividing generation after generation to create a linage of function and work. We could learn a thing or two about life by just taking a small glimpse inside the universe which lies within the depths of the skin we feel so insecure about. The flesh which traps our souls in the physical plane of time harbors secrets of a greater truth if one takes the time to introspect the intricacies of life itself.

                All matter is composed of atoms and within every atom ninety-nine percent is empty space. Scientists are still debating whether electrons are real components or mere wave like particles of energy. Hence, empty space constitutes the great majority of the earth as we see it. The human eyes magnify the world through a lens which sees the mosaic of atoms as objects, people, stars, planets, and so forth. However, if we were to see the world at the level of the atom we would be exactly where we are now. On a planet, an electron, orbiting the sun, the nucleus, while only seeing vast distances that we call space. The universe is infinite in the scope as seen by NASA, but the distance is purely relative to the size as seen with the smallest building block of matter, the atom.

            Distance is relative to space, space is relative to size, and size is relative to the perspective of the beholder. The universe may be found and realized without ever opening a book or traveling millions of light-years away, for the vastness within every single breath of awareness reveals time at a standstill. The world freezes the moment we reach into ourselves and cease the exact moment that exists in the now. Freedom, liberation, peace, solitude, God, ourselves, and the universe can all be revealed in the silence of the mind. When the mind is tamed and the world stands still and we are in harmony with it, we become immortal. Death no longer exists, mysteries no longer matter, life seems plentiful, and worldly attachment seems foolish. The immortal window to reach God is in this exact moment for the next breath is never assured and the breath before the the one we took no longer exists. The past becomes a lie, the future becomes false, and the present becomes just that a present from God to unite with the universal truth of His grace.

                 The flesh disappears, the body no longer cages the soul, and the vibrancy of every atom begins to match the frequency of the universal one – God.

Life is unfair in many ways to many souls. No matter how good one tries to become, the world is still a very cold and contentious place. People morph into duality carrying faces that beckon more than two different sides. Everyone is doing their best to deceive each other and get ahead. The cliche that the world is a dog eat dog place is no lie as it sums up society as we know it to be. No one waits to help someone up when they fall for that becomes their time to quickly run ahead. The falling man becomes vulnerable and desperately alone, but within this time of despair a thick coat begins to grow. Indifference and numbness begin to severe life as one becomes slowly a stone. Other people are blocked from coming into our lives, and alone we wither away. Every friend, acquaintance, and person becomes suspicious as the world grows wary in our eyes. Adaptation to the environment allows survival in primitive beings as well as in humans. Evolution of adapting to harsher environments ensures that only the strongest survive and flourish. The same is true for life as we must evolve into stronger beings in order to adapt to any situation or environment, because if we do not mold ourselves we slowly begin to die within.

This whole week has been a harsh downward spiral in my life as I have been deceived and betrayed. I felt alone at one point, and I could not resist those strong feelings. However, I have come out of this whole situation a much stronger person. Every single experience in life is a lesson learned. My goals are high, my expectations many, my aspirations infinite, my heart open, my mind growing, and my soul still intact. I have everything I need within to succeed. Life will surely continue to hurl many thorns and obstacles in my path. I will be challenged, stopped, and tried at every step of the way in all my endeavors; spiritual, academic, and personal. If life were easy, I guess it would not be worth all the struggle.

My family has been a strong and enduring pillar throughout my many trials and tribulations. My peers are also always there to cheer me up when I am down, but family has its own special place. Speaking to my parents is a great gift from God as I see them every night appear on my computer screen. My mother is a deep sea of comfort within my life, and she is always there to share a good laugh or sad moment. I can shed a tear and a smile with my mom during any time of the day. She is always there for me. Her eyes speak a million words and there is no need to say anymore. She reads me before I speak, and knows my insides when they sink. On the other hand, my father is the type of man that commands respect with his graceful and calm temperament. He listens with an open mind and lays out ways to reach my goals without being sidetracked by the insignificant attributes of life. His words propel me towards the finish line in order to pursue my goals. He has been through many rough challenges throughout his own life and he is constantly there to remind me that I can do it. Struggle is a right of passage in a successful life and my dad and mom are a true testament to that. I am uplifted every night I see them by my side although I am thousands of miles away.

My older sister also guides me as a mentor who has been through the many rigors I now endure. She recalls growing up and going through college and all the ups and downs it entailed. I confide with her my heart and soul. We may fight and degrade one another more than an Obama-Clinton debate, but she is always there for me through thick and thin. Her rhetoric is strong and her stance unwavering. Her strong morals have kept us on the right track. For living the relatively few years she has lived, she has seen a lot. She has always been the warrior creating paths through the rough although the easier alternative was always near. A source of continuing inspiration and motivation for me to be driven by passion and ethic. Never does she blink an eye when the time comes to drop her own life down to help another. A strong willed woman, I really look up to.

The other night I was able to talk to my aunt and cousin from Canada over Skype, and memories of my childhood came flooding back. My massi has a strong presence and always instills lessons within me that she has learned throughout her own life. I have the utmost respect for her intelligence and grace unto which she speaks such inspirational words. She is a soldier and always has been in life, and I see her in no other light than that of another mother of mine. I miss those good old days when I used to sit in their car after a party, and rant to my uncle and massi about my future goals in life. They could have said calm down kid, life is not as easy as you assume. However, my massi always told me not only that I could, but that I would. I would sit next to her on her waterbed for hours before she went to sleep talking away the minutes. She has always listened and been there to support me. She taught me that there are no limits. I have learned from her that life is not easy and it will most probably never be, but the most important thing is to be true to yourself. One of the strongest women I have ever known in my life without an ounce of doubt. I love my massi and I was so glad to see her a night ago. Distance disappeared as she appeared on my computer screen. I felt I was home.

My Nana, grandpa, is my best friend and almost like my highly respected elder brother. We talk for countless hours about the things that matter most in life. We can stroll together through the orchard while walking the dogs and allow silence to exist. There has never existed an awkward moment with my Nana. Over the years our bond has grown immense, and his constant encouragement and inspiring presence has uplifted me into a positive mindset hard to break. I have learned that age and time is a mere illusion, because every time I look into my Nana’s eyes I see a passionate young man speaking. The wrinkles all fade away and a best friend emerges only slightly older than me, but one who is a lot more wise. I love him so much and the gift of him being in my life is incomparable to any amount of money available in the world. He is priceless and the time I share with my Nana is the special time in life that is infinite.

I have truly been blessed by having so many great people to guide me in this life. It is nothing short of a miracle in itself. I have witnessed the world’s many colors and the dark tones of many fellow beings, and so I constantly remind myself that I have nothing to complain about, but instead only things to cherish.

Next time I tell myself that life is not fair, I will stop and think for a long moment or two. I will remember that I am breathing, and that my legs and arms still work. My mind is able of thinking logically and processing many complex tasks. I will remember all the great people God has blessed me with in this temporary life, and I will stop dead in my tracks. I cannot help but feel ashamed at that moment. I have been given too much in this life, and all I ask for now is happiness in everyone’s life because they have done so much to bring happiness in my own. I would never hesitate for even a slight moment to take all the sorrows of theirs and make them mine. I am indebted for all of eternity for all God and those I love have done for me. I have now forgot why I ever felt that life was unfair.


“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.”
— Dennis Wholey

Life is not fair; get used to it. Bill Gates

“Adapt or Die!”
– Andrew Grove (Founder of Intel)

“Life is tough. Life is tougher if you’re stupid.”
– John Wayne

Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.
– Author: Don Wilder

Opportunity follows struggle. It follows effort. It follows hard work. It doesn’t come before.
– Author: Shelby Steele

Unfortunately this earth is not. . . a fairy-land, but a struggle for life, perfectly natural and therefore extremely harsh.
– Author: Martin Bormann

sunset-space-pacific-ocean-thumb

 

    I have always been the religious type, constantly seeking the “right way to live life.” Always contemplating existence, the discipline of life, rights and wrongs, morals and ethics, black and white, and inner peace. Throughout this whole time I read countless books, articles, quotes and lectures from men of many faiths. I tried to listen from my heart to the five daily Sikh prayers, immersed myself in kirtan, and soaked myself in Sant Giani Maskeen Ji’s katha of Sikhism. I realized the simple truths of life and living throughout all of this; However, I could not seem to implement these simple truths into my life. I would change for a slight second or two, but then like a rushing tide of water, my egotistic thoughts would come flooding back into my mind. This whole time I thought I had defeated my ego, but I was very wrong. 

          I began judging others immensely. The world seemed wrong to me. How could he or she live the way they did – it was so immoral. I became a judge of everyone except myself. I distanced myself from others who did not believe what I believed. I was the one who knew everything. I put up barriers. The positive energy of being a Sikh was turning into negative frustration as others became scapegoats. I could not perfect myself so I began to find imperfections in others. I was a cynical critic of all men and life in general. I used events like 1984 to create separation from Hindus stemming from hatred. Slowly I was encasing myself in my own shell of what I thought life should be. My life was becoming dark, hallow, and lonely. There was no bliss. The whole time I thought I was coming closer to my faith, but I was really moving farther away from it. 

         I became argumentative and my anger started to take the better of me. I could blame a lot of who I was becoming on stress, but that just was not the case. I never slowed down to realize why I stopped smiling or why I closed people off without even talking to them. Why did I feel like I was always right and the world around me so wrong? My blogs over the last few months were evidence to my darkening outlook on life and I never seemed to notice it. 

       Sitting alone with myself was becoming increasingly difficult as negativity invaded my mind. The whole day I was so trapped in myself egocentrically that I shut out the rest of the world. They did not matter, it was my own personal journey. I was preoccupied with tons of work and tests, so I shrugged off my new negative outlook as my new reality. Life would soon be better when I would go home and hang out with the people I liked. Would the environment really make me more happy? I was making my education in the Caribbean the worst possible experience. No one was letting this happen, but myself. Sitting alone in the stillness of the night negative thoughts would come rushing into my mind accumulated throughout the day. I sat in bed an insomniac and prisoner to my wandering mind. My mind was slowly strangling the good hearted person I once was. The new negative energy was beginning to host itself within my every action. To distract myself I would put on a movie, slip in my Ipod headphones, or talk to a friend. I was running away from myself, because I did not like who I was becoming. 

         My own insecurities about myself were beginning to take a toll. I was no longer comfortable in my own skin, so I looked outside more than I would dare inside myself. I saw the worst in everything. I was shutting the world down, and becoming a huge skeptic of life, society, and people in general. I was interpreting the religion I loved so much in the wrong light. I saw life as a sheer lie with maya projecting a fake facade. The only goal was to better myself regardless of those around me. I wanted to become a doctor, make money, and take care of my family. I was wrong. “I” did not even exist.

         I was lucky to have a roommate as good as the one I was destined to have. A great man who always goes into every situation with a smile. I asked him how he dealt with so many of the annoyances in life, and he said that he only knew one thing and that was to make the best of everything. I nodded in agreement but inside I knew it was much harder for me than that.  

         A day ago, I was talking to my older sister over skype on the computer when all of a sudden my whole perception of life collapsed to the ground. We had a conversation that changed my whole life and me forever. She was surprised to see what I had become in the midst of college and being away from home. I had grown up in my own little comfort shell my whole life. Now I was thousands of miles away in the Caribbean and my outlook was changing for the worst. Instead of growing as a person I was beginning to shrivel. I was shedding the happiness I had tried so hard to find all my life. Emptiness was eating my real soul and spirit with negativity. My ego manipulated my life and thoughts, and I became a prisoner in denial – the moment I stopped resisting its fatal lock. 

         She told me that life was not going to slow down and help me change. There was no transition of maturity or happiness as life progressed through the years. I had a plain and simple choice, do I want to be happy or sad my whole life? See the positive in everything or the negative in everything? I knew the path which I was going down was the negative, and I knew the consequences. A lot of my doors in life were going to change if my perception were to stay this way. I needed to change. I had to change everything I had become from the heart on up.

         I was shaken and taken aback by the conversation and like a butterfly in metamorphosis I changed. “I” died in that moment. I could not retain the emotions within me anymore. The person I thought I was broke down in the shower. Tears flooded down my face as I completely surrendered and welcomed the self realization that I had been waiting for my whole spiritual life. I fell to my knees for all the sins I committed daily. For judging others and perceiving the world in such a negative and wasteful way. I was disgusted at who I had become. I was on the track of becoming a cynical, closed-minded, and greedy man. The emotions were much too complex to even comprehend but there is no doubt that I, my ego, finally died that night. The ego which kept afloat my anger, perception, greed, and narrow-mindedness all vanished as I said no more. “I” realized that I was never that negative person within. I had been robbed and pillaged of my true identity. 

            I am not my skin, my flesh, my house, my career, my shoes, my clothes, my car, or my ego. I am really the selfless and positive light within – an infinite vibration. I am going to make it a discipline to smile and enjoy every moment gifted to me on this Earth. I am going to make it a habit not to judge others or myself. I am going to make it a habit of loving everyone and everything as one. I am going to make it a habit to disconnect myself with my ego infested hatred, division, and anger. I finally woke up that day as I fell to the ground asking God for His forgiveness. I felt as if this was what I had been waiting for, as the negative energy literally was expelled out of me. In the Guru Granth Sahib, the Guru ji states that if you take one step towards God, God takes a million steps toward you. That day He finally came and proved to me His power to change a lost man in a moment. 

           I was always worried about what others would think about me, but now I frankly do not care. I have the right to be happy my whole life. Every line I hear in the Guru Granth Sahib rings so true now as I have moved away from my ego and closer to God. I have always been so afraid to let go, but that fateful day I finally did. I no longer have conflicts with anyone for nothing is an insult. If someone calls me a name or disrespects what I stand for, I no longer let it bother me because within I am stronger. My exterior is not who I am, and if someone wants to judge me they can be my guest. At one point, I too was guilty of this sin of judging others. When the Guru Arjan Dev Ji sat on the burning hot plate he smiled to the heavens above for he was soon going to meet his creator. He harnessed no hate toward the Muslims or the men who were carrying out his death. Bhai Mati Das Ji smiled the whole time as he was being cut in half, and Guru Gobhind Singh Ji sacrificed his whole family and himself for the spreading of truth, love, and justice. Who the hell am I to be carrying around a massive ego of hate when God is always within every man and the those around him. All are God’s children, and with Waheguru’s kirpa they too will one day be awakened when the time has come. 

          Whenever my mind introduces any element of hate, anger, or judgement, I stop it. I halt the thought and tell it to leave my mind. There is no room for your presence here in my mind. I do not care to hear what you have to say. I smile, love, and accept everything now and drench myself in the beauty of the present moment. I have let go of my ego. If someone tells me that I am skinny, ugly, or dumb I will smile and tell them that I am sorry but I have no complaints, but I am sorry you do, by the way you look great this afternoon – I will continue. I will not insult or slander back this person, for I will not defend something “I” truly am not. I have no control over how my body looks or how others judge it. I can simply be myself and accept who I am with the unwavering love of God who has given me such a beautiful transient gift. Nothing can hold me back for yesterday I destroyed my greatest enemy – myself. 

          The world is much more vibrant now and every person much more beautiful. Every religion a lot more significant. The cliche that one’s reality is his/her perception is perphaps one of the most significant truths of all. Since I changed my perception, the world has changed and the word of God has become so much more beautiful. Now when I hear the words, “Nah Koi Baire Nahi Begana” (There is no enemy or stranger), I cannot help but get goosebumps. “Ab Tuhi, Ma Nahe” (When You (God) are, I am not). From the bottom of my heart, I have zero hatred for anyone or anything in this world in which I live. All seems to be the gorgeous vibration of Waheguru in every direction I look. “Tuhe, Tuhe…”

         Everyday is still a battle and every second the parasite of an ego tries to beckon forth once again, but now I resist with full force. I have stopped feeding into the negativity of my mind, and I know that I am a lot happier because of it. I am seriously one step closer to God, and knowing who I really am. I have finally shed a lot of falsehood in my life. I smile now for the life that has been given to me is too deep a miracle. I breathe with passion, and walk with assurance in the power of God and my true inner-self. I have nothing and no one to fear. I am now living. 

      The Guru Granth Sahib really comes alive now that I am no longer blind. The sweet nectar comes with self-realization. Keep trying and trying for every step you take towards Waheguru a million are taken towards you. One day the moment will come in all types of forms to elevate you one step nearer to the infinite truths of God. Do not give up no matter how high the tides or how shallow the water may appear. Things will come and when they do you will be glad that you kept your prayers and thoughts with the Almighty. It may feel superficial at first, but very soon it becomes a miraculous healing power for happiness. I have found a direction with structure, and a heart with a true purposeful soul. I have been liberated, but still have a long way to go. Lord I am one step closer to you. In His grace and mercy I trust.

There is so much to do, but such little time. There was an unsettling peace after midterms were over, but that peace was short lived in the inevitable eyes of the future. Soon enough the urgency of finals seeped into the mental sores created by the intense study and stress of midterms. There is never a break long enough where the brain may rest in serene tranquility unscathed by stress or work. Although the work is intense and the days packed with hard work, the mind is heavily rewarded with knowledge and purpose. The mind can no longer rest idle for when it does, the mind begins to wither.

Many exams have been taken this semester, but many more still remain until Christmas break. The stress of studying perpetuates work and hinders procrastination, thus acting as a motivational force to get up and work. Worrying has no place in college for action replaces its allotted time. Hours in the library are converted into letter grades that assess retention, concept, and memory capabilities. Like computers we are installed with new programs and softwares through textbooks and courses. Then during the exam we are asked to retrieve them from the limited hard-drive space we have in our minds. There is no room for error or mistake here for my future is at stake.

The whole day the mind is being overloaded by numerous subjects, experiences, memories, and tasks. Soaking material from chemistry to biology, English to psychology, and computers to chemistry lab. Remembering to get groceries, people’s names, interacting, directions, and new unexpected experiences. The mind is alive and breathing when it is forced to work, retrieve, and retain vast mounds of information. The knowledge becomes stored as in a warehouse for future reference. Every line I read in a textbook changes the way I perceive life.

Every time I see a person walking no longer do I see a simple human being. Instead I see a trillion cells and the sheer miracle of life. I see a world of interaction between cells communicating and reproducing in infinite numbers. I see the probability of that person being alive as one in sixty four trillion as stated by the genetical probabilities of gamete fertilization. When I see the ocean out my dorm window, I now see trillions of hydrogen bonds constantly being broken and rejoined by the attractive polar forces of water. Everything changes as knowledge transforms the perception of life from the lens of our eyes. Thinking is no longer a task taken for granted, as I now visualize billions of neurons electrically carrying messages to different lobes in the brain. The processes are so advanced that it is impossible to realize the actual strength and beauty of just living. No computer created by man can even compare mildly to the advanced system of the human conscious and condition. The wiring of our minds, the sculpting of our frames, and the reactions of our cells are not put together by sheer material, but by living entities attracted by an infinite power and energy, God. The body in which we are given sanctity is a miracle to behold and realize. The might of God is so apparent.

As I lay in bed every night and try to go to sleep, I am stopped. Memories, experiences, and emotions take over my mind like a movie reel gone out of control. Childhood memories, present fears, people, life, the future, the past, and college all intertwine to create an unavoidable mental slide show. The imagery creates subtle emotional responses as the mind projects all sorts of thoughts in the dead silence of the night. I toss and turn in bed, and try to find the off switch in my mind, but I fail. I cannot stop my mind from running wild. All day I have been in control, because I have been forced to propel myself in the present moment to complete tasks of importance. However, during the night the mind finally takes over as I lay a prisoner to the rampant rants of my mind. I am no longer in control.

The next morning I awake to the annoying shriek of my alarm clock. Hitting the snooze button, I am oblivious to how the morning was ushered in so quickly, or how I managed to fall asleep through the minds disruptive unwinding. The dreams interrupted by the wailing alarm clock, are taken back with me into reality. I remember them for a short moment or two before sitting up right. Some are odd and most make no sense whatsoever, but I still would rather be there instead of here. In my reality, school starts again and the routine of being a premed student takes over another day. The stresses and studies of my life become real again and I move on. Until the night, I will continue working and ignoring my mind’s random invasions. Unfortnately, they soon will collect together and gain enough momentum just before I shut my eyes to sleep. I shall be a prisoner once again tonight.

Music has the innate ability to mold moods and emotions with its mystical qualities. Music is a divine element that can only be mastered by the those given the artistry to compose it by God. The intrinsic sound ripples through the air causing air pressure to change in waves of differing frequencies. As the sound enters the human ear it is channeled into the brain where it is sculpted into endless forms. The intricate brain signals interpret the vibrant sounds to create meaning, feeling, and imagery. Music awakens the inner senses and mysteriously maps out our outlook on life. For centuries humans have sought the omnipresent powers of music to transcend states of consciousness otherwise difficult to attain. When the vibrations of sound are carefully weaved together and orchestrated, the resulting chord strikes at the center of all souls.

Music has no language and is not owned by any one people on Earth for it is universal. It resounds from the far reaches of the rumbling sky to the depths of jungles and seas, music and sound paint the atmosphere with life and color. The natural lodestones of sound given off by the settling waterfalls and unsettled shores have drawn millions of men since the beginning of time to seek true inner content and fulfillment. The human voice sang in the melody of tune, raag, is a beautiful harp in the midst of many instruments. Guru Nanak Dev Ji fatefully instilled Kirtan into the deep roots of an infinitely rich stream of poetic rhymes in the Guru Granth Sahib, because he knew that music was a vehicle on which one could reach the greatest truths of God. He sat emerged for hours, days, weeks, and months listening to the divine compositions of God, Waheguru. “Tuhe, Tuhe, Tuhe,” God you are everything. In the Japji Sahib Guru Nanak continues to teach man to listen to the secrets of the Universe and creation of God by listening to the natural beauty and serenity of nature. Listen with your heart to the world in which you live and there you will find a greater soul drenched in pure content, unity, and infinity. In the Anand Sahib below, Guru Amar Das speaks of the grace and divine power of musical melodies in the salvation of our souls, and the spiritual cleansing of our evils within:

ਅਨੰਦੁ ਭਇਆ ਮੇਰੀ ਮਾਏ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ॥

anand bha-i-aa mayree maa-ay satguroo mai paa-i-aa.

I am in ecstasy, O my mother, for I have found my True Guru.

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਤ ਪਾਇਆ ਸਹਜ ਸੇਤੀ ਮਨਿ ਵਜੀਆ ਵਾਧਾਈਆ ॥

satgur ta paa-i-aa sahj saytee man vajee-aa vaaDhaa-ee-aa.

I have found the True Guru, with intuitive ease, and my mind vibrates with the music of bliss.

ਰਾਗ ਰਤਨ ਪਰਵਾਰ ਪਰੀਆ ਸਬਦ ਗਾਵਣ ਆਈਆ ॥

raag ratan parvaar paree-aa sabad gaavan aa-ee-aa.

The jewelled melodies and their related celestial harmonies have come to sing the Word of the Shabad.

ਸਬਦੋ ਤ ਗਾਵਹੁ ਹਰੀ ਕੇਰਾ ਮਨਿ ਜਿਨੀ ਵਸਾਇਆ ॥

sabdo ta gaavhu haree kayraa man jinee vasaa-i-aa.

The Lord dwells within the minds of those who sing the Shabad.

ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਅਨੰਦੁ ਹੋਆ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੧॥

kahai naanak anand ho-aa satguroo mai paa-i-aa. ((1))

Says Nanak, I am in ecstasy, for I have found my True Guru. ((1))

ਏ ਮਨ ਮੇਰਿਆ ਤੂ ਸਦਾ ਰਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਲੇ ॥

ay man mayri-aa too sadaa rahu har naalay.

O my mind, remain always with the Lord.

Music is the truest element of transition in a world floating on the baseless illusion of maya where many have forgotten their purpose and reason for existence, because we have become attached to falsehood, attachment, and ego. Music is spiritual and the Gurus instilled its endless melody into Sikhism by creating raags in the Shabad.

In Punjabi culture, music has also been noted as a type of nasha, intoxication, because it allows man to change states of consciousness. The nature of music is such that it has the ability to change one’s mindset in less than a minute. The Ipod has revolutionized the world because thousands of songs are now on the fingertips of many in sheer seconds. This has caused people to live in their own little worlds propelled by their own lyrics, genres, beats, and cliques. The world has become more technological and cold. No one wants to hear the real human being next to them as Ipod headphones cloud their hearing and openness. Music has evolved modern day life, just as it changed our states of being centuries before.

Traditional Qawwali’s of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and others send the instrumental clapping tune into motion, and the faint imagary of old Mughal kings sitting on throwns as naachars, women who entertained, danced before them. Old songs by Surinder Kaur and Jagmohan Kaur paint the old picture of Punjab’s green and conservative fields of the past. Songs by Chamkila and Amrita Virk strike a romantic picture of old Pindh love stories. Mirza and Heer folk songs end in the dogmatic tales of murder and honor in the old days of Punjabi heritage. Malkit Singh, Surinder Shinda, and Kuldip Manake capture the mid 90s with their corny and often cheesy Bhangra lyrics that still live due to their beats that continue to make everyone dance until the early hours of the morning at parties. Rappers in America put their message of living a hard life of intolerance in vulgar terms so the masses can understand and relate to them. Acoustic artists soothe the senses with soft melodies and lyrics for relaxation. Bands and punk music rile up feelings of anger and frustration in those who feel alone and desolate. Music appeals on so many different levels due to the intrinsic quality of it letting men shed confined feelings to the sound of comforting beats and lyrics. Emotions and feelings are splashed on the canvas of music to remain alive and intact for generations to come, true music represents the sentiments and feelings of an individual from the soul up.

Music allows me to let go and transcend into states of entertainment or spirituality. Spirituality and entertainment can coexist if perceived in the overall joy and happiness of life. It is okay to dance and enjoy as long as one remains respectful to oneself and others. Life is to reflect, be thankful and generous to all, find God within, and most importantly to learn lessons from this brutal world in which we live. Every ray of light that can enter our often dark and shackled soul is welcome here, and music is one element in this temporary life that can truly resonate and echo deep within.

“There is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself.” Michael F. Stanely 

                         We all know what is good and bad. We all have our own way of justifying the wrongs we commit on a daily basis, and when we finally admit our faults it is so difficult to reform and change them. Then we walk out of the door, and find ourselves judging others based on our own hypocritical scale of “goodness.” Stop this destructive cycle. From the very moment you leave your computer screen, become the person you wish you were. Be an example of spontaneous change for the better while basking in a truthful and righteous life as the Gurus did before us. If not from this very moment then when? Live the life you expect others to lead when you so easily judge them. Let it be a challenge every second of your existence; this is religion and the first step towards God.

              “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin- real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” Alfred D. Souza

            

                 Shame on you Badal and your corrupt political family. The Sikh panth is not a mere puppet and the Akal Takht is not just another political podium from where political agendas are announced. No wait a minute, nowadays it has become just that. The Badal family has high jacked the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs for political purposes, and to be honest no one is shocked anymore. The Sikh sangat is becoming numb to gurdwara politics, and shrug it off as nothing new. It is a disgrace that these “bhandar politicians” who openly display long white beards and bristling silver kirpans can so seamlessly meddle with the very religion they fiegn to follow. They can allow a genocide to occur in Punjab while they are reassured their political seats, and will sit silently as the golden temple is attacked and many killed. How can we trust them? We cannot.

 

                   I live thousands of miles away on the other side of the planet in California. Every night I do my paath and try to understand the universal scope and vastness of God intertwined in religion. No one can take away my right to learn, understand, and comprehend the majestic and infinite teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib, so I continue trying to live as a Sikh. The happenings in the Takhts and gurdwaras make me distraught and they are the least inspirational aspect of modern day Sikhism. These acts are sucking the blood right out of what Sikhism could be, and that is the saddest reality of the whole situation. Mainstream Sikhism is being jerked and tugged by numerous self-interest factions – political parties, radicals, khalistanis, cults, branches, and so on. Let there be unity of Sikhi and then pursue it in humanity.

 

                   Vedanti had his faults as the Akal Takht jathedar, and these faults had their foundation in political links then too. He began asking for justice in the 1984 incidents in New York, and other locations. Being a Sikh and not in any way a politician, I have a hard time finding anything wrong with pleas for justice after a devastating genocide. However, our little money sucking politician chors in Punjab feel otherwise, because their buddies over at the RSS and BJP do not like Sikhs demanding justice. Come on, the Sikhs do live in Hindustan so demanding justice and rights is a little far fetched. Then Vedanti decides that strict and stringent action should be taken against the Dera Chief who has killed numerous Sikhs now. Hold on, big Badal does not like the sound of that either, he gets votes from that Dera. It is a powerful sect and friendly diplomacy could mean an election, right? So he tells Vedanti to calm down Sikh sentiments and display his heroism somewhere else. Finally our jathedar of Sikhs in the Golden Temple praises Manmohan Singh for winning the reelection. Now Vedanti has gone too far, because Badal, an Akali, voted against the Prime Minister. How dare Vedanti bite the hand that feeds him. Goodbye. Badal owns the SGPC and now jathedars apparently, so he just hired a new puppet. Now its perfect because everyone is happy especially the central government, the BJP, and our best friends over at the RSS.

 

                     Sikhism was not meant to be corrupted and slaughtered by its own men. We fought the Mughals and invaders for centuries, but today we have a much more dangerous enemy – our leadership. We will overcome with the kirpa of Waheguru, and in His grace and mercy I trust. Badal shame on you for pretending to be a Sikh.

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