Thursday, March 22, 2007

Happy Feet!

Happy Feet and Sikhi!
If you want to begin a conversation about Sikhism with a child and don’t quite know where to start, just go to the cinema and watch "Happy Feet".
I think Mumble - the central character of the animated movie - is the ideal Sikh, and someone all kids should strive to be. He is different from the rest; and not just that, he is proud to be different. He doesn’t want to follow the pack, even under immense peer pressure. More than that, he is always happy, even when up against heavy odds; moreover, he gallantly risks his life to save the colony - demonstrating the concept of “sarbat da bhalla”, as embodied in Sikhism. Although the movie is primarily a love story, you don’t have to look too deep to discern the real message.

If you haven’t watched the movie yet, Happy Feet is an enchanting musical about a penguin colony, where everyone is a singer….or at least tries to be one. But Mumble is different, because he can only tap dance! Even though no one appreciates his dancing, he keeps at it, and feels happiest just being himself. His singing is woeful, but he doesn’t let the sneers and jeers bother him. He finds friends who like his dancing, but the elders of the colony perceive him as a threat - because he questions the established norms and the pack mentality. They blame him for the depleting stock of fish in the water because of which the colony is slowly but surely dying.
Mumble is given the choice to conform and stay within the colony or leave his family forever and go with his friends. He refuses to buckle under the pressure, and chooses the latter. Even though he is ostracized, Mumble vows to find out why there aren't enough fish in the water anymore and he goes to live in another colony.

There, he questions the local demigod, ‘Lovelace’, and sees through his charade, realizing that Lovelace couldn’t really “predict the future” as he claimed, but people worship him merely because he has something strange around his neck. It pans out later that it is a plastic six-pack can-holder (from polluting flotsam and jetsam) which is also slowly choking Lovelace to death.
Mumble sets out to help Lovelace and also to figure out the fish conundrum. His friends accompany him on a dangerous journey and finally they are able to cut the plastic stuck around Lovelace’s neck. Having set him free, Mumble leaves him and his friends to embark on a risky mission alone.
He follows the strange monster in the sea (a fishing ship, using nets to catch fish) to check if that is what causes the fish to disappear. In the process, he himself is caught in the net and is placed in a zoo - for humans to admire a ‘live Antarctica exhibit’. Despite the circumstances, when everyone around him is losing their sanity, Mumble hangs in …and begins to tap dance!
Suddenly everyone notices him and the humans feel that the tap dancing penguin is trying to communicate with them - and give them a message. In the end, he leads the humans to his penguin colony and under immense pressure from the media, governments world-wide ban fishing ships in the area.
So Mumble, keeping his head - and his ways - saves the whole of his colony, which lives happily ever after….. Isn’t he just the perfect example of what a Sikh should be – full of self-belief, not daunted by anyone, not succumbing to any pressure, questioning heresy, living happily in adversity and above all, risking his own life for the greater good of all? Perhaps the only thing he is missing is a patka!!

Well, Mumble Singh, thanks for telling us what we should be – let's hope more of us can dare to be different like you……..and proudly so!
Footnote for all the Sikh men: The movie shows female penguins going to sea, to catch fish for the family, while the men stay at home to look after the eggs and the babies in the nest. Can we extend the metaphor to our men as well……please?


Monday, March 19, 2007


Today is the day, when I needed to read and beleive the came in our District News letter....I thought of sharing it with all...may be someone else needs it too, so I am posting for all my friends who visit my blog faithfully. Thank you all :D

20 Suggestions for Living Wisely and Well

1. Teach by example.

2. Bless every day with a generous act.

3. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.

4. Do something every day that maintains your good health.

5. Take family vacations whether you can afford them or not.

6. Stand up for your principles even if you stand alone.

7. Judge your success by the degree that you're enjoying peace, health, and love.

8. Be there when people need you.

9. Be devoted to your spouse and dedicated to your children.

10. Be of service to your community and your country.

11. Have courage when things go wrong.

12. Tell the truth.

13. Maintain a grateful heart.

14. Manage your resources wisely.

15. Don't overlook life's small joys while searching for the big ones.

16. Discover the power of forgiveness.

17. Love people more than things.

18. Look for the good.

19. Search for the truth.

20. Hope for the best.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Poorble Karam(Deeds of Previous Life and Gurmat)

Every person reaps as he sowed in the previous life. According to Hindu Mythology; if a person did good deeds(karma) then he lives good life in this birth and if he did bad karma he suffers in this life. No deed is unsuccessful. If this is true than every person makes his life himself, based on the deeds he does. But this is half-truth; because Brahmins took advantage of this principle of deeds and created caste system. So taking this principle as whole truth actually makes a person atheist; because he does not recognize the power that Waheguru ji plays in making a person’s life – good or bad.

Guru Sahib revealed to us that both are prevalent in making a person’s life – karma of previous birth as well as Akal purkh’s hukum. Guru Sahib asked us to do Naam Simran to wash our karma of previous births, to seek His Kirpa. Good karma makes the human mind clean and hence helps in Naam simran and that is dooway to salvation.
Let us contemplate on what Guru Sahib says on getting out of this vicious circle of past misdeeds.

ਕਰਮੀ ਆਵੈ ਕਪੜਾ ਨਦਰੀ ਮੋਖੁ ਦੁਆਰੁ
karmee aavai kaprhaa nadree mokh du-aar. By the karma of past actions, the robe of this physical body is obtained. By His Grace, the Gate of Liberation is found.
(Japji Sahib, SGGSJ Ang 2)

In this life one does Naam-Kamai according to one’s previous good karam, it is not due to one’s own efforts(uddam).
They act according to their pre-ordained destiny, which no one can erase.
ਪੂਰਬਿ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਕਮਾਵਣਾ ਕੋਇ ਮੇਟਣਹਾਰੁ ॥੩॥
(Sri Raag Mahalla 3 SGGSJ ang 27)

The pre-ordained destiny, based on our past deeds determines how long we are going to live, how much we will be honored in this world and when/where/how we are going to die. Not a single moment can be altered by one’s efforts.
ਲਿਖਿਅੜਾ ਸਾਹਾ ਨਾ ਟਲੈ ਜੇਹੜਾ ਪੁਰਬਿ ਕਮਾਇਆ ॥ (SGGSJ ang 582)
The call of our pre-ordained destiny cannot be altered; it follows from our past actions.

Guru Sahib says, one has to pay back for one’s karam, no one can erase that from his forehead.

ਨਾਨਕ ਕਿਰਤਿ ਪਇਐ ਕਮਾਵਣਾ ਕੋਇ ਮੇਟਣਹਾਰੁ ॥੨॥ (SGGSJ ang 594)
O Nanak, he acts according to the karma of his past actions, which no one can erase.

It is not in human’s control to erase past deeds & under influence of previous misdeeds, he continues to commit bad deeds and that is how the circle of death and birth continues. That is how soul goes through never-ending journey. Then who else is to blame for this?

ਪੂਰਬ ਜਨਮ ਕੋ ਲੇਖੁ ਮਿਟਈ ਜਨਮਿ ਮਰੈ ਕਾ ਕਉ ਦੋਸੁ ਧਰੇ ॥ (SGGSJ ang 1014)
Mostly we see if a person has worldly prosperity then he thinks that it is result of his hard work but when there is disease, suffering or accidents; the same person blames it on Waheguru. But Guru Sahib says that why blame anyone it is result of your own past actions. There is reaction to every action.

ਨਾਰਾਇਣ ਨਿੰਦਸਿ ਕਾਇ ਭੂਲੀ ਗਵਾਰੀ
ਦੁਕ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਥਾਰੋ ਕਰਮੁ ਰੀ ॥੧॥ (SGGSJ ang 695)
Why do you slander the Lord? You are ignorant and deluded

Let us take an example of monkey. A monkey is captured by putting chhole in the pitcher with small neck. Attracted by the smell of food, a monkey squeezes its hand through the neck, grabs the food, and then discovers it cannot pull its enlarged fist out of the neck. The greedy monkey doesn't want to let go of the food and gets captured. Like the monkey, we can become prisoners of our own greed, slaves of our own addictions. We've got to learn to let go of greed that gives birth to moh-maya.

ਜਿਉ ਕਪਿ ਕੇ ਕਰ ਮੁਸਟਿ ਚਨਨ ਕੀ ਲੁਬਧਿ ਤਿਆਗੁ ਦਇਓ
ਜੋ ਜੋ ਕਰਮ ਕੀਏ ਲਾਲਚ ਸਿਉ ਤੇ ਫਿਰਿ ਗਰਹਿ ਪਰਿਓ ॥੧॥ (SGGSJ ang 336)
The person who came in this world is bound to leave this world one day. The ever-existent Waheguru has written one’s destiny according to one’s deeds.

ਸਿਰਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਸਚੜੈ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਪੁਰਬਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੋਵਾ
ਦੁਖੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਦੀਆ ਜੇਹਾ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਨਿਬਹੈ ਜੀਅ ਨਾਲੇ ॥ (SGGSJ ang 581)
He does those deeds which the Creator Lord causes him to do; he attempts no other actions.

Mostly people ask for wordly wealth from Waheguru ji and Guru Sahib says that one can attain it too as per one’s deeds

ਸੰਪੈ ਕਉ ਈਸਰੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ਸੰਪੈ ਪੁਰਬਿ ਲਿਖੇ ਕੀ ਪਾਈਐ ॥ (SGGSJ ang 937)
For wealth, some meditate on the Lord. By pre-ordained destiny, wealth is obtained.
Where as Gurbani talks about not altering past deeds by one’s efforts, Guru Sahib also tells us how one can erase one’s past deeds. No one can get rid of one’s karam without Guru. Only Guru can wash those misdeeds.

ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਕਰਮ ਛੁਟਸੀ ਕਹਿ ਸੁਣਿ ਆਖਿ ਵਖਾਣੁ ॥੭॥ ਸਭਿ ਗੁਣਵੰਤੀ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਮੈ ਗੁਣੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋਇ
Without the Guru, they are not released from their karma, although they speak and listen and preach and explain. 7
They all call themselves virtuous, but I have no virtue at all.