547. Man in Blue – Enough for all, enough for ever

547.b.DodoThe Dodo

Enough for all, enough for ever, I think this is a good summing up of Guru’s teachings. God the Giver, who never stops giving, supplies the Universe with enough resources to last for as long as the Universe exists.

If we narrow it down to the planet earth, it has enough resources to feed, clothe and house the billions of people that live on it in the 21st century.

But the people who are living by the grace of God’s generous gifts are too greedy, consuming too much and polluting our beautiful and productive planet so that it will end up feeding fewer and will ultimately run out of resources.

There are many examples of how we destroy the food sources given to us by the Creator. The demise of the dodo is a good illustration of how wasteful man is.

The dodo was a flightless bird that lived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. After the Europeans discovered the sea route to South and South-East Asia via the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) it became one of the stops where the ships would take on fresh water, fruit and vegetable and anything else edible.

And the dodos were edible. They were not afraid of humans and could not fly away, so many ended up in the cooking pots on board European merchantmen.

You do not need to be a genius to work out that if you kill more birds than are born, you end up with a diminished number of birds, who produce less off-spring and soon enough you end up with no birds at all.

The demise of the dodos was speeded up by the introduction by Europeans of pigs, dogs and rats, all of which developed a taste for dodo eggs. As far as I know the dodo was first described by Portuguese sailors around 1500 and became extinct in the late 17th century.

You can put a lot of the blame on enterprising fellows from the Netherlands, who on their way to their settlements on Sri Lanka and in the ‘Dutch East Indies’, now Indonesia, caused a good bit of environmental damage.

These days we are more subtle. We claim more and more land for cities, towns, motorways and agriculture, which leaves less land for the natural resources that our forefathers used to live on.

We are steadily working on the pollution of the oceans, which could be an incredible rich source of food that could feed us for a long, long time if we treated it with more respect.

We are also the masters of waste, in the rich western countries thirty percent of the food produced is thrown away. We grow soya which can easily be eaten by us, but we feed it to cattle and then eat the cattle. Not very efficient at all.

Living in Hukam includes respect for the creation of which we are part. Nature is not something outside us, we are part of it. If nature dies, we will die with it. Abusing nature will be punished by death of all and everything on the planet.

545. The Man in Blue – If you want to play the game of love

If you want to play the game of love
then step onto My Path with your head on the palm of your hand.
When you place your feet on this Path,
give Me your head, and do not listen to what others say ||20||
Guru Nanak, Guru Granth Sahib page 1412

I am not a great kathakar, I like it much better when what I say is part of a dialogue and when I am not obliged to make a long speech. But listening again to the katha that I did for Sangat TV, starting with the above slok, I feel that I did a reasonable job on that occasion.

The slok is well known, and is often compared with Guru Gobind Singh’s question on Vaisakhi 1699: Who wants to give their head? The circumstances were different, but the meaning of giving your head or carrying your head on the palm of your hand is the same. It means total dedication, total commitment to God.

The meaning of ‘game of love’ should also be clear to those who are familiar with the Guru Granth Sahib. It is about the love that God pours out over us, without limit, without condition, and the unconditional love that we should try to develop for God. We are all brides of God, God is our groom.

The strength that you can see in real Gursikhs comes from that mutual love. Of course the Sikh warrior-saints of the past trained their bodies and worked on their skills with various weapons. But without the love for God and without experiencing God’s love, they would just have been warriors, not Saint-Warriors.

The game of love is played when you always keep God in mind, whatever you do, when you make an honest living and when you share money, goods or time with others.

The game of love is played by those who are in control of their lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride and instead are full of Truth, Contentment, Humility, Love and Compassion.

We should realise that the five ‘thieves’ which take away our peace of mind are based on natural inclinations. Sexual desire is part of our nature and can be a force for the good within a loving relationship, but we should not be ruled by it.

We should feel anger when we see injustice, and use that anger as a motivator for positive action. Greed is there where the natural desire to have our basic needs fulfilled changes in lust for more, more and more again. We should not be attached to our cars, our families or to branded clothes that are unnecessary expensive. It is good to feel satisfied with a job well done, as long as we realise that our talents are gifts from God. Where ego is, God is not!

If you don’t see God in all
you won’t see God at all.

544. The Man in Blue – Simran – Meditation – Thinking about

I have written about meditation before and made a YouTube video in which I meditated and explained the meaning of the words of the meditation.

The first word I meditated upon was ‘Vahiguru’, followed by ‘Ik Ongkár, Sat Nám, Kartá Purkh, Nirbhau, Nirvair, Akál Murat, Ajuni, Saibhang, Gurprasád. Finally I sang a short passage from the Jáp Sahib : Gubinde, Mukande, Udáre, Apáre; Hariang, Kariang, Nirnáme, Akáme.

Although these meditations are by different authors, and have slightly different ‘positions’ in the Sikh tradition, they are all about qualities, aspects of God.

Words like God, Allah, Har or Prabh all mean the same: God. They are generic words for God. Words like Vahiguru, Gobinde, the Merciful or the Allmighty represent different qualities of God. Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhi are monotheistic traditions, they all believe in the One, but they all use words that describe qualities of God. God is One, but She/He has many aspects.

If you were to know and understand all the words used in the different spiritual traditions to describe aspects of God, you might begin to understand something of the greatness of God.

Nám simran, meditation on Nám, remembering Nám, is about getting nearer to God by understanding and repeating words that try to describe aspects of God.

Wonderful bringer of light into darkness
Ik Ongkar – Satnám – Kartá Purkh – Nirbhau – Nirvair – Akál Murat – Ájuni – Saibhang – Gurprasád
One Omnipresent, All-powerful – True Name – Creator Being – Without Fear – Without Enmity – Undying – Does not die, is not born – No Needs – Guru’s Blessing

Gobinde – Mukande – Udare – Apare;
World Sustainer – Liberator – Keeps Giving – Without Limit.
Hariang, Kariang, Nirname, Akame.
Destroyer – Creator – Without Name – Without Lust.

Simran, Meditation, thinking about God is not a question of saying certain words as often as possible, as fast as possible. Slowly saying a word, in a loving manner, tasting the sweetness of God on your tongue is what I try to do. It is essential to understand what you hear, Guru tells us again and again that we should do vichár.

Nám, godly essence, is in all the shabads of the Guru Granth Sahib. Reading, listening to, trying to understand the shabads and applying what you learned, is also meditation. Think about God with everything you do and you will be honest, you will share and you will see God in all, without which you will not see God at all. It is that simple and that complicated. But it works, results guaranteed!


537.The Man in Blue – Nám Karan

Sikh Rehat Maryada (SRM) – Ceremonies pertaining to Birth and Naming of Child

In a Sikh’s household, as soon after the birth of a child as the mother becomes capable of moving about and taking bath (irrespective of the number of days which that takes), the family and relatives should go to a gurdwara with karhah prashad (sacred pudding) or get karhah prashad made in the gurdwara and recite in the holy presence of the Guru Granth Sahib such hymns as “parmeshar dita bana” (Sorath M. 5 ,Guru Granth Sahib p. 628 ), “Satguru sache dia bhej” (Asa M. 5 , Guru Granth Sahib p. 396 ) that are expressive of joy and thankfulness.

Thereafter, if a reading of the holy Guru Granth Sahib had been taken up, that should be concluded. Then the holy Hukam (command) should be taken. A name starting with the first letter of the hymn of the Hukam (command) should be proposed by the granthi (man in attendance of the holy book) and, after its acceptance by the congregation, the name should be announced by him. The boy’s name must have the suffix “Singh” and the girl’s, the suffix “Kaur”.

After that the Anand Sahib (short version comprising six stanzas) should be recited and the Ardas in appropriate terms expressing joy over the naming ceremony be offered and the karhah prashad distributed.

This is from the English translation of the SRM, as found on the SGPC website.

The first thing that struck me is that there is no fixed time span given for the day on which the ceremony is to take place. Go to the Gurdwara as soon as the new mother has sufficiently recovered. I also like the idea of making the karhah prasad at home. Why leave it to the Gurdwara if we can do it ourselves.

According to this clause of the SRM you can give the child any name, as long as it starts with the first letter of the vaak. When I got my name the Granthi told me that the first word was Har, and asked if I knew a name starting with Har. I told him to choose a name for me and he suggested Harjinder.

Recently in Belgium the Granthi and I did the ceremony in the Sint-Truiden gurdwara as the hospital wanted a name straight away, and again ‘Har’ was the first word of the vaak, and I texted that to the parents.

Going by all the names starting with Har, Gur, Man, Jag etc this is what most people practice. If you just go by the first letter than you can choose any name, whether this name has a spiritual meaning or not.

There is no need to restrict ourselves to ‘Indian’ names. If Devdata (God-given) is acceptable then Deodatus (Latin) and Theodorus (Greek), names that have the same meaning, should be acceptable too.

Sikhs should obey Guru’s order and not use their family names but instead use Singh and Kaur. No more Gills, Sidhus, Sehmis or Kalsis, just the name given by the Guru Granth Sahib followed by Singh or Kaur.

I often call myself Harjinder Singh Amritsar, to avoid confusion with the other Harjinder Singhs. My Sikh ‘birthplace’ was Amritsar. This type of addition is acceptable as long as it is not used to make you more important than others!

522.The Man in Blue – Violence in Southall

This is not a discussion about whether we should follow this ‘professor’ or that ‘kathakar, baba, pardhan, jathedar’. My subject is the fact that many Sikhs seem to be unable to discus differences in a respectful way ! Why do we have to fight over agreeing or not agreeing with Professor Sarbjit Singh Dhunda ? Why can’t there be a peaceful demonstration ?

I am inclined to the Singh Sabha way of thinking and I also try to develop my love for God and to open myself to the Love that The One keeps giving us. The Singh Sabha types usually have the right basic, more or less intellectual understanding, but are often not receptive to the ‘mystic’ side of Sikhí, which we share with the bhagats of the Bhaktí movement and with Sufi pírs like Sheikh Faríd.

There are different ways of looking at Sikhí. This can be annoying, but it is allowed. As long as people do not claim that Sikhs should believe in caste or that another Granth/Holy Book should be put at the same level as the Guru Granth, Guru leaves us a lot of freedom.

Mind you, many Sikhs ignore ‘One God – One Humanity’ or ‘Guru Granth – Guru Panth’. For reasons that I cannot understand many Sikhs value the writings of Bhai Gurdas more than the teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Even in discussions on the internet we cannot agree to disagree with respect. Very soon participants in discussions get personal instead of trying to convince others using arguments.

I have in the past repeatedly written about the thugs who broke the legs of Jasvir Singh Hayes Wala and I publicly challenged those who threw stones through the windows of the Miri Piri Gurdwara because Professor Darshan Singh was inside.

Now we have similar or the same misguided ‘Sikhs’ who created mayhem and behaved in the worst possible way outside Southall Singh Sabha Gurdwara.

Everybody has the right to disagree strongly with others, be they Babé, Jathedars, Professors or whatever. They have the right to demonstrate and shout slogans to make their opinions clear to all.

But Guru taught us to use violence only as a last resort and not to act in anger or because we want to take what is not ours. Tenth Guru made peace with Rám Rai, earlier Guru’s came to an understanding with Sri Chand.

We are not only allowed, no we have to resort to violence if other means are not available to fight against injustice, against oppression. But nowhere did Guru use violence because individuals or groups had different opinions.

The breakers of legs, the throwers of stones and creators of general mayhem ignore Guru’s teachings. They deny freedom, they oppress and they commit injustice. Let us join the fight against this kind of anti-Sikh behaviour, let us try to liberate their minds from un-Sikh notions.