535. Man in Blue – High Blood Pressure – High Cholesterol

We are in a small Gurdwara somewhere in Continental Europe, it is a weekday and only about ten people sit together for lunch time langar. The management has instructed the langar crew to use less salt and less ghee/butter/oil, and the sevadars obey the instruction.

The fulka, dal, sabzí and dehí are served and then the sevadar does the last round and supplies the sangat with liberal amounts of salt and butter. There is only one foolish person who does not want extra salt and butter, and who requests fulka without butter.

This same foolish person has since April of this year either eaten Gurdwara food, or the food on offer in Panjabi families. You cannot complain because the food from Guru and the food on offer in Panjabi families is prepared with love and it is tasty.

But of course the foolish person gets loose motion. Not the sort of loose motion you get through illness, it is just that the system is too much oiled and buttered and whatever goes in comes out to readily.

This foolish person after his arrival back in Southall goes to Dr A K Sandhu’s surgery for a ‘MOT’ and is told by Dr Sandhu junior that his cholesterol is a bit on the high side.

In the Southall Singh Sabha Gurdwaras it is not all bad. Some days the salt levels are reasonable, some days the food is really spoiled by too much salt. Dal is usually not prepared with too much oil, butter or ghee, but with sabzí you take a gamble.

And of course the dehí is never low fat, and the milk used to make the milky Panjabi style tea is not skimmed milk.

The foolish person mentioned above wants to taste the vegetable and the dal, not just salt and butter. The foolish person agrees that the tea needs milk with some body, but not necessarily the variety with the highest fat content.

Do Panjabis want to be unhealthy, do they want to be overweight, do they want high blood pressure and high cholesterol ? Is it that they want to be with God so much that they poison themselves in order to obtain an early death ?

One aspect of the problem I recognise. Most of the Panjabi Sikhs are not from the cities but from the countryside and used to work in agriculture or in related industries. When you do hard physical work the fatty food makes sense. It does not make you fat, it gets burnt up by the hard labour.

Also, apparently when the outside temperature is near to or over the body temperature, salt helps retain liquids in the body.

But most of us in the UK do not do hard physical labour and temperatures rarely get over 30 degrees Celsius. What kind of Akal Purkh di Fauj are we, overweight, with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes ?

534. The Man in Blue – Is it enough to be a good person ?

This question is often asked by young Sikhs who are trying to avoid having to wear the five Ks and the turban. But I am approaching this question from a different angle : what if people do not believe in God, but show all the good behaviour as expected from a Gursikh ?

I have a lot of experience of working with people who do not believe in God, who call themselves agnostics or humanists, but whose values are very similar to those expected from a Sikh (a student) of the Guru (Guru Granth Sahib, or God, the ultimate Professor).

And I understand what motivates these people. They recognise the oneness of humanity; they agree with us that we are all sisters and brothers. Just like we call each other bhai and bhain, many who do not believe in God are comfortable with the idea of the sister/brotherhood of mankind.

They do not acknowledge the Oneness of God, but they recognise the oneness of humanity, or even of all the creatures in the universe.

This is the spirituality of the humanist, and practising this kind of spirituality is an absolute condition for making further steps to what Sikhs and others who believe in the One would see as a higher level.

For me seeing humanity, seeing creation as one is closely connected with having a link with God. God is present in all creation, God is the common factor in all living creatures, plants and in ‘dead’ material. God is All – All is God !

What God would think about a good humanist ? I do not think that God is a human being and I am therefore quite sure that God does not ‘think’ like we do.

What the proverbial Chitr and Gupt would make of a good humanist ? There are no answers to this question in my data bank. I would think (as René Descartes wrote: I think, therefore l am) that Chitr and Gupt would prefer a honest humanist over a hypocrite who claims to be a Sikh of the Guru, but who secretly does all kind of bad or useless things.

We should realise that when we do good deeds, we should not show compassion, should not meditate in order to get liberation as a reward. We try to programme ourselves, with the help of the One, to automatically stay clear of bad or useless thoughts and deeds.
Replace bad or useless thoughts with good, positive thoughts, replace bad or useless deeds with good, positive deeds. And 10th Guru said : I will serve that Khalsa that serves all !

This attitude brings with it its own reward: inner peace, inner strength.

As far as ‘liberation’ is concerned, liberation from the cycle of birth and death, it is Guru’s blessing to us. We cannot force God to liberates us !