Monday, January 12, 2009

Symbols, preachers, attitude of life...

Once again, a random reading from the book Spirit Born People rises in me a deluge of dreams and thoughts. The major question that has been bugging me is that what can be done different this year, 2009 CE, 540 and 541 N.S. (in the context of Sikhs)? Let's not forget it is the 25th Anniversary of the events that occured in the year that will live in infamy for the Sikhs (umm...yeah..1984). Many are already busy planning yet another "Memorial" and "salana" probably though not with such pomp and energy as "300 sal guru de nal...". What should we, the Panth, focus on in our educational projects, our attempts at doing good for the community and the world. Should we fix our own house first before we start trying to fix the world? Does that have to go hand in hand? Too many questions and too many potential answers.

Is it not shameful that we go an auction our Beloved for the fun of preaching a sermon that has but one effect of causing hatred between man and man? Because of my personal love of my Beloved, I should be so radiant that my radiance should conceal me and my Beloved from all. And yet my radiance should be a revelation of Him, as is the fragrance of the rose. It is certainly a tiresome futility for us to go impressing on the busy world of today that unless they keep long hair and wear turbans they cannot understand the Guru. The Guru is already diffusing his mind in the world-mind and if, like other theologians and priests, we strive to force upon them our particular theology and rites and symbols we shall certainly fail. As the shape of the nose and ear and eye cannot be limitations for the ecstasy of the soul, so no symbol, no rite, no particular form, no particular virtue or vice can impede the inner realization of the great ideals of the Guru. But as the mystic expressional types of the Guru's mind, we have to roam in this world and spread the fragrance of the Guru with the braid-knot he gave us, and the flowing beards. Our shapes indeed can, in no sense, be considered symbols. But more important is the expression of the Sikh soul through their medium, and if that expression is lacking, our very life and body, whether our head be dressed or clean-shaven, are meaningless superstitions. To a person given to religion, as one given to intense human love, trifles relating to the soul are more essential than the realms of silver and gold. Surely for such people the very superstitions contain more reflections of truth than the gathered facts of the learned people of the world. If one who is at peace and fully intoxicated on those delectable heights closes his eyes in exstacy, this closing of his eyes is no symbol of religion and yet, in a sense, it is. So should be with us Sikhs, the wearing of His knot, His beard, His shape and His obedience. Our form and shape of the Guru will radiate with His inspired and extraordinary humanity. Lacking that one thing, all shall be lacking. Without that spirit within us both life and death are devoid of meaning and truth.
Excerpt from Prof. Puran Singh, Spirit Born People, "Internationalism and the Sikhs"
Couple of things
  • Prof. Puran Singh refers to the "busy world of today..." in this excerpt. Can you imagine the difference in perception of "busy" in 2009 vs. early 1900's when he may have written this.
  • Regarding the attitude of those that "live in His image" or don the 10th Masters articles of faith...without the inspiration of the Guru and the extraordinary humanity it represents, its donning is lacking any meaning and truth. That's a tough one to swallow but true. In this arena I am convinced that it is a progression that goes on hand in hand. As we delve into sabad whilst wearing the articles of faith - the loving attitude that we must have of wearing them becomes manifest. The more we love our image and the gifts/articles, the more the urge to delve into sabad. This has been my experience.

1 comment:

  1. I love this book and author...very inspiring material...thanks for sharing veerji.