Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Sikh Freshman’s ‘must read’ for this Summer

It was a wonderful Saturday at IGS School just before we closed for summer; while children spent decorating pieces of quilt with their thoughts and ideas on “Why am I proud to be a Sikh?”; but it was not so pleasant for a Sikh mother who was all worried about her 14 year old son, who insisted that he wanted to wear ear rings along with heavy duty ‘kara’. My heart goes out to that mom as well as her not-so-young kid; it's not easy being 14 no matter where you live, or who your parents are! It is even more challenging when you are the ambassador of Sikh faith. Being 14 is a difficult transition from being a ‘boy’ to becoming a man; it is the time when kids feel that they must "fit in" with the crowd. Wearing earrings is a recent trend. In early sixties, Americans believed that it was practice of backward and uncultured people; but fashion has taken its toll; now all women; young or old, are seen wearing earrings. The size and design of the rings have no limits. The earrings have grown long enough to touch the shoulders and they swing around when the head is suddenly moved to left or right. Such fashions come and go to be replaced by new ones.

However it is healthier for the mind and convenient for the body to live and dress simply and gracefully. Those who avoid such craze enjoy greater and everlasting peace of mind and keep themselves free from self-inflicted punishment. It also strengthens their mind to think independently and live as leaders among their peers.

Khalsa is distinct from the world. As Sikhs, we must understand that our path is very different from the rest of the world, we must strive to attain the ultimate goal of human life i.e. merger with the Parm-Atma. This does not come without becoming comatose to the world. If we opt instead to please the peers around, then we become more absorbed into the world and further away from God. Sikhi does not fit in nicely to what we want.

According to the Sikh Reht Maryada, there is no objection to wearing any kind of jewelry by an Amritdhari person provided one does not have to pierce his/her ear or nose to wear it. During the olden days, the wearing of earrings and nose rings indicated slavery. The owners used them to identify their slaves. This does not fit in the Khalsa culture. We, the Khalsa, enjoy full freedom and are not slaves of any person or even of any god; hence it is degrading to wear earrings.

The Five Ks imply self-consciousness and self control which arises from a sense of duty to others. It is a discipline which calls for constant training in loyalty and a test of the authenticity of man's professing the faith. One needs loyalty in every activity of life, for attaining whatever ideal one sets to oneself. Now, loyalty to a particular purpose is an asset; but loyalty as a habit of mind is a much nobler virtue. To be noble parent is very good; but to be a loyal follower is infinitely nobler. Since the aim of the Sikh religion was to mould human beings ("sachahu orai sabh ko upar sach aachaar." Truth is higher than everything; but higher still is truthful living. - Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji”); it certainly had to inculcate in its adherents a habit of loyalty that could be applied in all spheres of life.

So the key to survive peer pressure is “BE YOURSELF I know everyone talks about it, but what does it mean? It means that you ‘know yourself’..know where you stand on drugs, alcohol etc. (you'll probably be pressured to experiment more in high school) and above all where you stand as a Sikh as far as your faith is concerned. If you don't think you know yourself, take this summer to find out. Read Sikh History!


Blogger Harkiran Kaur said...

You write really well and your thoughtfulness definitely makes me wonder how incredibily perfect mother you are to your children!

Keep writing bhenji!

1:46 PM  
Blogger Singhni said...

Thank you Harkiran for your kind compliments. It means a lot to me to hear words of encouragement from fellow sisters and brothers.... giving words to my thoughts would not be possible without friends like you. Thanks again! :D

2:09 PM  

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