Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Why Some Gurudwaras are Failing


By SSNews, Lakhvir Singh Khalsa

Nov 16, 2006, 16:24

The Hindus have their Mandirs, the Christians their Churches, the Muslims their Mosques and the Sikhs their Gurudwaras. All these congregational centres were meant to unite people of faith and help each other grow in spirituality and stick together in times of trials, tribulations and joy.

Though Gurudwaras began to be built much after our Gurus, they have nevertheless played a great role in becoming centres of Sikh teachings and in bringing communities together. Over the past few years, however, an unfortunate trend has begun to come to the fore-front. Majority of Gurudwaras around the world no longer inspire new Sangat, mostly because of the wrong people with incorrect ideas are put in charge of the House of the Guru.

There was a reason why our Gurus did not establish Gurudwaras and the foresight of Guru Gobind Singh Ji was spot on. Guru Ji’s decision to pass the Guruship to the Word of God (Guru Granth Sahib Ji) has saved the Panth from destruction at its own hands. Even today, one can witness the number of sects, deras and self-professed gurus that continue to grow in the same attempts that were made in the times of our Gurus by Prithi Chand, Ram Rai, Dhir Mal, Dattu and the massands. Our Sikh Gurus were appointed by Akaal Purakh to lay the foundations of the Sikh faith and that is why when Guru Gobind Singh Ji, as the last human Guru of the Sikhs, installed Guru Granth Sahib Ji as the final and eternal Guru of the Sikhs, we need to understand the reasons behind that decision and Hukam.

Humans, as proved through history, are prone to failure because of their selfish nature and are likely to be corrupted by maya. Guruship is a huge power which can drive anyone to the brink of doing anything to lay claim for oneself. Our Gurus were appointed by Akaal Purakh and it was within His Divine Will to end the human Guruship with Guru Gobind Singh Ji and rest the destiny of the Sikh Panth in the Shabad of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Shabad is what humanity needed but very few accept the Word of God as their leader. No wonder we have all other religions clamouring for leadership and have failed the message engrained within their scriptures. Sikh faith is the only organised religion that has conferred Guruship to the Spirit of the Word and need no human Guru to take its place. The Sikh Gurus’ mission was to reveal the Word and record It for time eternal as no human will be able to match its Wisdom and Instructions. Those that have strayed from this principle have contradicted the very message the Gurus taught and have condemned themselves into squabbles which is their downfall. Over the centuries, men have fallen but only Guru Granth Sahib Ji still stands above all, pure and unadulterated as it was prepared by the Sikh Gurus. Guru Gobind Singh’s instruction to his Sikhs to consider Shabad as Guru has proved its reason. Those that do consider Guru Granth Sahib as Guru and following its teachings can never be conquered by any human force. They are the Sikhs of the True Guru and they have survived the centuries, and will survive for centuries to come. That is the power of the leadership of Guru Granth Sahib.

When Sikhs treat Guru Granth Sahib Ji as a mere formality and to extract from it what is of use to them and ignore what their manmat doesn’t agree with, they fall and take down along with them those that support or promote them. This is what is happening in Gurudwaras today. By treating the Gurudwara as a business, all the committees ever take seriously is their chairs, their turbans and their big fat egos and treat matters of the Panth as a secondary issue. It is a known fact how it takes minutes to approve a budget running into millions that has to do with expansion of the Gurudwara’s properties and will argue for hours on the relatively petty expenses to invest in Parchaar and Gurmat.

Just last night, a dear Gurmukh friend of mine, who is a vice-chairperson of our local Gurdwara here in Nairobi was lamenting that their Gurudwara no longer has any money in the banks and is struggling. Ironically, they have huge amounts in fixed deposits. He was really heart-broken that a Jatha that is to come to Kenya sometime in November has been given a very tight, but miniscule budget while they are approving expansion programmes for their Gurudwara. He felt so hurt that these committees have such little hearts for Parchaar. I comforted him by saying that a Gurudwara like that was bound to run out of money because it is run like a business, and not like a Guru Da Ghar. Business are vulnerable to bankruptsy, not Guru Da Ghar. These kind of people, who have little respect and regard for their Gyanis, guilty of disrespect kesh, eat and drink and corrupt voters to gather their seats of power . . . how can such people ever be custodians of the Guru’s Treasures? They are gambling away their own treasures (Sikhi) and will run the very House of the Guru into ruin. These are the modern day massands. Now we know what Guru Gobind Singh Ji had to face with the massands. The tragedy is that today’s massands are elected by us and we have no guts to tear them off from their chairs.

I have heard much about the treatment our Gyanis are given by these shameless committees. They literally man-handle them with words. How outrageous to speak to the custodians of Gurmat in such a pathetic manner! How do we expect Sikhi to flourish in such conditions? These Gurudwara committees don’t even care a dime. They expect the youth to come to Gurudwaras and adopt Sikhi yet they themselves are hollow inside. They are doing more damage than the massands of puratan times because we elect these massands. Like our Guru taught us, more guilty than the oppressor are those that do nothing against it. We will be held accountable in the Court of the True Guru, for not doing anything about it. Of all those sacrices give by our Gurus and we have confined them to frames in the Gurudwaras. Who needs the Babar the invader to conquer the people? Our own Sikhs are our greatest invaders. We don’t invade another’s territory, but we are certainly shredding our skin to expose the flesh for the flies to feast on.

An ideal Gurudwara committee should have a Gyani as an advicer on matters of faith and the leaders should al be at least complete keshadhari and the Chairman an example of a complete Gurmukh who is Amritdhari and Nitnemi. These days, we may even come across some keshdhari or Amritdhari leaders, but they still fail the Panth in one way or another – examples of which are as vast as the human mind can conceive. Were our Gurudwaras led by Gyanis and men and women of a Gurmat living, Sikhi wouldn’t have been taking a beating it is today. Who can dare bring down Sikhi if Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Khalsa was to live on His Hukam of a Niyara Khalsa? People like the leaders in SGPC, RSS, fundamentalist preachers of other religions and governments would have nowhere to hide were it for the Sikhs to deal with the issues affecting their Panth. Our leaders are sold-out to maya and drunken in the wine of power and have little care for the House of the Guru.

While the wrong people continue doing their dis-services, the right people do little to nothing. We will both be in the same Court when we are presented before the Guru. The fruit which we will be handed will be of our own asking and there will be no chance to turn back and correct what we had the powers to do.

In conclusion, I’d like to quote what the famous boxer Muhammed Ali once said: “Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.”


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