ims191@gmail.com

Nov 202017
 

GuruGranthSahib.107220330_large

VICHAAR

ਡਿਠੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Study Group Brought to you by The Chardi Kalaa Foundation, IGS Now and Sikh Gurdwara San Jose.

Date: Sunday November  19, 2017
Location: Sikh Gurdwara San Jose – Sahibzada Fateh Singh Room in the Khalsa school area.
Time: 11:00 AM
Duration: 2 Hours
Format: Conference Room
Medium: English

Program:

Sn. Leena S. Bedi  will address the subject of “Sehaj”

Abstract:

Sehaj – Equipoise, The Highest Spiritual State as it appears in Gurbani many times. “ਸਹਜੈ ਨੋ ਸਭ ਲੋਚਦੀ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਪਾਇਆ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ “. Let us dwell on some of the questions that arise on this topic by taking help from Gurbani verses on this state of “Sehaj” – Why do we need Sehaj, Is Sehaj only required for mediation, Naam Simran? Can we achieve Sehaj while living our normal household life?  What is our understanding of Sehaj Vs what Gurbani tells us from experience of Enlightened masters and SatGurus? Finally, what is difference between Sehaj as in Gurbani vs other meditations, Smadhis.

As always, we look for active participation by the Sangat in an environment that encourages interactive discussion.

Video of Session:

Oct 032017
 

GuruGranthSahib.107220330_large

VICHAAR

ਡਿਠੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Study Group Brought to you by The Chardi Kalaa Foundation, IGS Now and Sikh Gurdwara San Jose.

Date: Sunday fOctober 22, 2017
Location: Sikh Gurdwara San Jose – Sahibzada Fateh Singh Room in the Khalsa school area.
Time: 11:00 AM
Duration: 2 Hours
Format: Conference Room
Medium: English

Program:

Sdn. Leena Kaur  will address the subject of “Surat (awareness)”

Abstract:

ਸੁਰਤਿ (Surat)– What does SGGS says about Surat

Surat – Awareness, is one key aspect of staying in connection with One Divine, all pervading Waheguru. It is through Surat that one stays as a true disciple of Satguru as in “Shabad Guru Surat Dhun Chela”.  Yet we know so little about Surat –  we do not even know where our Surat is at any moment. Let us take help from SGGS to ponder the subject and dive into it to learn from our Satgurus who have described very beautifully about Surat and how and where it is aligned by the true devotes who stay on the path. “Eka Surat Jaitey hai Jee, Surt vihoona Koi na Kee” ਏਕਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਹੈ ਜੀਅ ॥ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਵਿਹੂਣਾ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਕੀਅ 

As always, we look for active participation by the Sangat in an environment that encourages interactive discussion.

Video of Session:

To be added

Sep 182017
 

ਪੂਰੇ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸੁਨਿ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ॥

ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਕਰਿ ਪੇਖੁ ॥

ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਿਮਰਹੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ॥

ਮਨ ਅੰਤਰ ਕੀ ਉਤਰੈ ਚਿੰਦ ॥

ਆਸ ਅਨਿਤ ਤਿਆਗਹੁ ਤਰੰਗ ॥

ਸੰਤ ਜਨਾ ਕੀ ਧੂਰਿ ਮਨ ਮੰਗ ॥

ਆਪੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਬੇਨਤੀ ਕਰਹੁ ॥

ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਅਗਨਿ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਤਰਹੁ ॥

ਹਰਿ ਧਨ ਕੇ ਭਰਿ ਲੇਹੁ ਭੰਡਾਰ ॥

ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰ ਪੂਰੇ ਨਮਸਕਾਰ ॥੧॥

 

Each breath you take, remember Him
No more cares, just peace within.
Think of Him, meditate on Him
Love Him, be with Him.

Each breath you take ….

Listen to the perfect Guru
Behold the Lord, always with you.

Each breath you take ….

Of fleeting desire, still the waves
Let saint’s dust be all you crave.

Each breath you take ….

Renouncing ego, pray with devotion.
With Saadh sangat swim the fiery ocean.

Each breath you take ….

Amass the wealth of Naam evermore
Waheguru  love and adore.

Each breath you take ….

 

 

 

Sep 102017
 

GuruGranthSahib.107220330_large

VICHAAR

ਡਿਠੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Study Group Brought to you by The Chardi Kalaa Foundation, IGS Now and Sikh Gurdwara San Jose.

Date: Sunday September 24, 2017
Location: Sikh Gurdwara San Jose – Sahibzada Fateh Singh Room in the Khalsa school area.
Time: 11:00 AM
Duration: 2 Hours
Format: Conference Room
Medium: English

Program:

S.  Chetandeep Singh  will address the subject of “Mann (mind)

Abstract:
What is Mann ? Is it heart, brain or mind ? What does Gurbani has to say about Mann ? What is the process of aligning Mann with Guru’s Matt ? And finally if this Mann or mind is akin to an elephant – how to tame it ? We will look at all these & more in this presentation.

As always, we look for active participation by the Sangat in an environment that encourages interactive discussion.

Video of Session:

Aug 182017
 

Shabad 1: Tu Sajan tu Pritam mera , chiteh na bisreh kahoo bera ; Raag: Suhi

Trainer: Prof Dalbir Singh

Prof. Dalbir Singh has been spreading the knowledge of Gurmat Sangeet to the seekers with devotion and dedication for the last thirty-five years. He is the son of the renowned Taus player, Giani Beant Singh, who was a disciple of Ragi Bhai Juwala Singh of Thattha Tibba gharana. Dalbir Singh was awarded with a gold medal in B.A. Honors Music from the Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. And later, received his Master’s in music from Punjab University, Chandigarh. Since then, he has been teaching all over the world from India, to Thailand, and now in bay area, California. Dalbir Singh also has published three books in Gurmat Sangeet. His latest book, Gurmat Sangeet Rachnavali, has 122 compositions in 31 nirdharit Raags of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Participant : Sania Kaur

Sania Kaur Bhella is a 10th-grade student at University Preparatory Academy and has been learning kirtan from San Jose Khalsa School since she was 10.  Kirtan inspires her because it allows her to connect with the Gurbani and follow guru’s message to be a better person. She loves to sing the melodious praise of Guru’s grace, allowing her to be in the presence of Waheguru. She loves playing Rabab, Harmonium and enjoys science, specifically biology.

 

 

Participant : Mahima Kaur

Mahima Kaur Bhella is a 7th-grade student at University Preparatory Academy and has been learning Kirtan since she was 6 through Khalsa School. Doing Kirtan inspires her to learn more about Raags and Taals and really explores the world of Gurbani Kirtan. Mahima plays Harmonium, Dilruba, and Tanpura while also singingin Raag. She also enjoys dancing and acting.

 

 

Participant: Gurleen Kaur

Gurleen Kaur is a sophomore at Silver Creek High School and has been learning Kirtan at Khalsa school for 7 years. She loves Kirtan because it helps her learn more about her faith and helps her connect with Waheguru. Gurleen likes to spend time with her family and wishes to become a doctor in the future.

Participant: Japleen Kaur            

Japleen Kaur is in 7th grade in Chaboya Middle School and has been learning Kirtan since she was four years old. Kirtan inspires her because when listening and singing to shabads with Raags, she feels at peace and connected with Waheguru. In general, she enjoys being in the student council and carrying out community projects with her fellow members

Participant: Kunwarpreet Singh

Kunwarpreet Singh is a Grade 12 student in Evergreen Valley High School and has been learning Tabla since he was 9 years of age from Khalsa school. He also does Kirtan. He loves playing tabla because it’s an escape for him, from his fears and problems in life. He plays 3 instruments, speaks 4 languages, plays 2 sports, and wishes to pursue a career in Aerospace Engineering

 

 

 

 


 

Shabad 2: Suhab, Suhab, Suhavi. Apney Pritam key Rang Rati; Raag: Suhi

 

Trainer: Bibbi Leena Kaur

Bibbi Leena has been spreading Gurbani’s message through multiple Radio channels for many years. Her interest in music originally started with exploring the 31 Raags in SGGS ji to understand and internalize the depth of Gurbani teachings. It quickly expanded to different horizons in music with desires to revive Sikh heritage instruments among our younger generation, and extend the richness of Sikh musical background and lyrics in Punjabi language to everyone. She is very inspired to bring the depth and light of Gurbani teachings through her music and seeks blessings from everyone in her endeavors.

 

 

Participant: Bhavandeep Kaur

Bhavandeep has been doing Kirtan for 8 years and was influenced by her sister and uncle as she watched them play for many years. She loves Kirtan because it’s fun to perform and she loves to sing and thinks it sounds beautiful. She attends Evergreen Valley High School and is now starting 11th grade.

 

 

 

 

Participant: Gurdeep Kaur

Gurdeep Kaur is starting college as a freshman at San Jose State University. She has been learning Kirtan since about five years now.  Her dad is her inspiration for learning Kirtan. She loves doing Kirtan because it relaxes her mind and she feels more attached to Gurbani. She plays two instruments: Harmonium and Tanpura.

 

 

 

Participant: Jasleen Kaur

Jasleen Kaur is a 9th grade student in Pioneer High School and has been learning Kirtan since she was 6 years old from Khalsa School. She enjoys Kirtan because it keeps her connected to Waheguru. She likes playing Dilruba and Harmonium and enjoys reading and learning math and science.

 

 

 

Participant: Jaspreet Singh

Jaspreet Singh is a 10th grade student at Monta Vista High School and has been learning Kirtan since he was six years old. He is inspired to do Kirtan because he loves music and singing Gurbani. He plays Rabab and Tabla, and also is interested in robotics.

 

 

 

 

Participant: Keerat Kaur

Keerat Kaur is a student in 12th grade at Monta Vista High School and has been learning Kirtan since she was seven years old. She is inspired to do Kirtan because it allows her to find a sense of tranquility in the busy everyday routine and stay close to Waheguru. Keerat enjoys playing Dilruba, Taus, and Violin. She is also passionate about science and space.

 

 

Participant: Sukhveer Singh

Sukhveer is a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino. He has been learning Tabla at Guru Nanak Khalsa School for over seven years. Sukhveer is passionate about playing Tabla and learning Kirtan. He also enjoys playing the violin and is part of the chamber orchestra at his high school

 

 

 

Participant: Tanvir Kaur

Tanvir Kaur is an 11th grade student at University Preparatory Academy, and has been learning Kirtan since she was 6 from Guru Nanak Khalsa School. She enjoys Kirtan because she feels like singing shabads from the Guru Granth Sahib helps her grow closer to Waheguru and create a bond between her and her culture. She likes to play Rabab, Dilruba, sing, and participate in speech competitio

 

Aug 162017
 

Sikh Way of LifeHarnoor Kaur: Sikh Way of Life Inspired by Guru Nanak

The author: Harnoor is 8 years old and is studying in grade 3 in Tom Matsumoto Elementary School. She has been participating in Hemkunt Speech Competition for the last 2 years. She gets her inspiration to participate in Speech Competition from her sister Japleen Kaur. In general, Harnoor enjoys painting and playing chess with her family and friends. She is an accomplished speaker at a very young age. At recently concluded Sri Hemkunt Foundation International Sikh Youth Symposium in Sacramento CA, she obtained first position in the group I (6-8 Years)

 


 

Geeta Kaur: Sikh Way of Life inspired by the novel “Satwant Kaur” by Bhai Veer Singh

 The author: Geeta is in 8th grade at Kennedy Middle School in Cupertino. She has been a regular participant in the Sri Hemkunt Foundation Symposium for the past seven years and this year has been placed first in group III at the International Sikh Youth Symposium. She enjoys playing the rabab, harmonium and violin as well as performing Kirtan. On Sundays, she helps teach Punjabi and Gurbani to young children at Guru Nanak Khalsa School at San Jose Gurdwara. In her spare time she loves reading fiction books.


Sukhveer Singh: Sikh Way of Life inspired by Sikh Rehat maryada.

The author: Sukhveer is a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino. He has been a regular participant in the Sri Hemkunt Foundation Symposium for over ten years. This year he was placed first in the senior most group at the International Youth Symposium. He enjoys playing the violin and is part of the chamber orchestra at his high school. On Sundays, he helps teach Punjabi and Gurbani to young children at Guru Nanak Khalsa School at San Jose Gurdwara.

 


 

Aug 072017
 

Prof. Nirinjin Khalsa

Abstract

Today we see power structures erecting separatist ideologies along nationalistic, religious, ethnic, and racelines, escalating hate rhetoric and acts of violence, particularly aimed at our Sikh brothers and sisters. These divisive and harmful ideologies question the Unity and brotherhood of mankind that was revealed byGuru Nanak and enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib which recognizes all of creation as One – IkOngKar. Guru Nanak states “the highest yogic order is to see the brotherhood of mankind; through conquering yourown mind, you conquer the world.” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib 6) This interconnected perspective based on anexperience of ego-loss is the foundation of Sikh ethics. It encourages us to practice love-in-action asWarrior-Saints who have the courage to stand against injustice and defend those in need for the freedomand equality of All.


Video of Presentation


Slide Presentation


Body of Paper

Interconnected Ethics: Living as Warrior-Saints for the Freedom and Equality of AllAcross Centuries, Cultures, Religions and Continents

When discussing how we can apply the timeless and universal message of Siri Guru Granth Sahib across, time, space, cultures and religions, here and now, in today’s world – it becomes important to acknowledge how the Sikh teachings shape our own lived experiences. I was born and raised a Sikh in the 3HO (Healthy Happy Holy) Sikh Dharma community with Harbhajan Sikh Khalsa Yogi Ji’s emphasis on experiential knowing. Since 2000 I have been studying Gurbani Kirtan and the jori-pakhawaj with 13th generation exponent Bhai Baldeep Singh who honored me as the first female exponent of the Amritsari-Kapurthala Baaj. I have attended classes, spent time with and interviewed his Grand Uncles, Bhai Gurcharan Singh, Bhai Avtar Singh and son Bhai Kultar Singh. From 2010-2011 I traveled throughout Northern India as a Fulbright fellow, interviewing the extant memory bearers of the Gurbani Sangeet paramapra, hosted by Dr. Gurnam Singh and the The Gurmat Sangeet Department at Punjabi Univeristy Patiala. My graduate study with Dr. Arvind S. Mandair at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor expanded my horizons in Sikh Studies through its history, philosophy, language and culture. Now as a professor of Sikh and Jain Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, I teach an upper division undergraduate course “Sikhism: Warrior Saints”[1] where students visit multiple Gurdwaras in the area, attend Baisakhi and Guru Nanak’s Birthday at the LA Convention Center, sit in on Sunday school classes and get to know the lived aspects of Sikhi by interviewing community members. Students also are given opportunities to perform seva both at the Sikh Gurdwaras as well as with the Khalsa Peace Corps’ “Share a Meal” program where they make burritos on a food truck which they then serve to the homeless around Los Angeles. Additionally, students gain first-hand experience of aspects of Sikhi by performing a forty-day practice of their choosing (ie. nam simran, nam japna, meditation, seva, veganism/vegetarianism or relinquishing one of the five drives: kam, krodh, lobh, moh, ahankar.) For example, when a student chooses to work on their ego (ahankar) they begin to recognize their own self-centered tendencies or desires and move towards a mindset that acknowledges the self in relation to all others. Such a relationship is characterized by love for one another, a love that sacrifices the ego-self. It is this core concept of egolessness that offers a dynamic ethical paradigm based on the interconnectedness of life. By observing the symbiotic relationship between perspectives and practices, between thought and action, between mind, body and spirit, students experience first-hand how Sikhi offers ethical and moral guidelines for living in the world.

Timeless Universal Message

The wisdom enshrined in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib therefore is not meant to only be read, recited, sung, and studied, but is meant to be experienced, practiced and LIVED – today – here and now. The Siri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) conveys a harmonious vision beyond boundaries, borders, and divisions. It encapsulates the interconnected nature of this harmony through its materiality, musicality, authorship, language, script and content. It aligns pan-Indic spiritual insights and wisdoms, from multiple religions, regions, languages, faiths, and castes. Within the Siri Guru Granth Sahib this diversity is harmonized through a common text (SGGS), a common script (Gurmukhi), a shared musical language of raag, and a common message clearly conveyed by Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi Ji’s who said “If you can’t see God in All, You Can’t see God at all.” This popular phrase clearly illustrates the “Interconnected Ethics” revealed by Guru Nanak Dev Ji as IkOngKar, that we are ONE, a revolutionary concept that was continued by the succeeding Sikh Gurus, enshrined in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, and imprinted in our hearts and minds. Guru Nanak states “the highest yogic order is to see the brotherhood of mankind; through conquering your own mind, you conquer the world (man jitai jag jit)” (Siri Guru Granth Sahib 6). This interconnected perspective based on an experience of ego-loss is the foundation of Sikh ethics. It encourages us to practice love-in-action as Warrior-Saints who have the courage to stand against injustice and defend those in need for the freedom and equality of All.

The Sikh notion of the Warrior Saint began with Guru Nanak. He taught a revolutionary mode of living in the world through a saintly mindset that renounces ego-centric behavior, recognizes our shared humanity and allows us to serve others with mutual care and respect, while also living the life of a householder – willing to stand against inequality, segregation, and discrimination. This ethical mode of living in the world offers a response to the separatist ideologies currently being erected along nationalistic, religious, ethnic, and race lines, escalating hate rhetoric and acts of violence, particularly aimed at our Sikh brothers and sisters.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s socio-religious intervention in the early 16th century promotes an ethical paradigm based on an interconnected oneness that resists religious and social inequality and communal violence. Guru Nanak Dev Ji paved the way for the 5th Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji to transcend social, religious, and linguistic divisions by compiling the Adi Granth, a musico-poetic scripture unlike any other – with first-hand expressions of divine experience from the Sikh Gurus themselves, from their disciples, court musicians and sants of differing religious, ethnic, linguistic, and social backgrounds. The 10th Sikh Guru further transgressed socio-politico-religious norms by proclaiming that the Adi Granth scripture would henceforth be the eternal, living Guru of the Sikhs, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji, recognizing the faulty nature of human authority, that can lend itself to unethical behavior, removed any possibility of ego-posturing in relationship to the Guruship. He ceased the lineage of human successors and instead invested the sovereign authority of the Guruship into the Guru Granth, the Shabd Guru. This act effectively displaced human authority that is subject to time and space, and invested it in the eternal Word as Guru that each Sikh can embody within their self, through the practices of nam jap, nam simran, and gurbani kirtan. In this way the Siri Guru Granth Sahib as Shabd Guru offers a radical mode of sovereignty that unifies rather than divides, that is not subject to laws of succession and infighting. It is an authority that itself contains the tools towards one’s own liberation from the ego-dominated self towards a path of Love. This revolutionary notion of sovereignty allows us to live as Warrior Saints who, through conquering our selfish ego-centered minds and behavior, recognize the shared humanity of all beings and stand courageously for the equal rights and freedom of ALL. Guru Gobind Singh poetically expresses:

“All men are the same though they appear different.
The bright and the dark, the ugly and the beautiful, …
All human beings have the same eyes, the same ears,
The same body build composed of earth, air, fire and water.
The names Allah and Abhekh are for the same God; …
The same is referred to in the Puranas and the Quran.
All human beings are the reflection of one and the same Lord.
Recognize the whole human race as one.”[2]

Guru Gobind Singh, like the Sikh Gurus before him, led by example, recognizing the interconnected nature of the hukam at play within the world. Even after his great-grand father, father, sons and disciples had been martyred for taking a stand against religious persecution and forceful conversion at the hands of Mughal rule, he understood the importance of fighting for justice without vengence, greed, pride, attachments, hate or enmity. Instead he fought so that those of all faiths may live and worship freely rather than submit to an oppressive unjust rule.

 

Relevance of Guru’s Message in Today’s World

While the world has changed much in the last 500 years since the time of the Sikh Gurus, there are many things that remain the same. People continue to struggle against unjust power structures. Due to the pervasiveness of fear and hate rhetoric, we continue to see boundaries erected along nationalistic, religious, ethnic, and race lines, separating ourselves from our shared humanity and causing acts of violence.

In the US there have been many hate crimes particularly aimed at our Khalsa Sikh fathers, uncles, husbands, brothers, grandfathers, and sons, whose identity with their turbans and beards visually represent to an un-informed public, terrorism, fear, and distrust rather than the Khalsa attributes as given by Guru Gobind Singh which represent contentment, acceptance, honor, strength, justice and Equality for all.

Thousands of hate crimes have been inflicted upon Sikhs since September 11, 2001 when terrorists flew their airplanes into the twin towers and the media continually showed Osama Bin Laden, with his turban and beard, as the epitome of evil – the enemy. Since then there have been countless hate crimes against Sikhs who continue to be targeted as terrorists, due to their own turbans and beards. Rather than responding with hate and rage the Sikh community has

called for greater education about who Sikhs are, with prayers for unity and with forgiveness in the heart.

A few days after September 11th, a Sikh man Balbir Singh Sodhi was murdered outside of his gas station in Phoenix, Arizona by a man who killed him out of rage and hate because he perceived him as the “enemy.” After this horrific crime, Balbir Singh’s brother, Rana Singh Sodhi began working with activist Valarie Kaur to spread the Sikh message of Revolutionary Love and forgiveness, even for your opponents or enemies. While serving a life sentence, the killer agreed to speak with Rana Singh over the phone. In the spirit of Sikhi, Rana Singh offered him forgiveness.

We recently commemorated the 5th anniversary of the horrific shooting at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin when on August 5, 2012 a white supremacist opened fire on the Sikh sangat during a Sunday Gurdwara service, killing six people. We keep Paramjit Kaur Saini, Suveg Singh Khattra, Ranjit Singh, Katwant Singh Kaleka, Prakash Singh, and Sita Singh, and Baba Punjab Singh, now paralyzed, in our prayers and hearts.

 

After this atrocity, Harpreet Singh Saini, who had lost his mother Paramjit Kaur in the attack, worked with the Sikh Coalition, to pass a resolution that the FBI’s national hate crimes database would finally track hate crimes against Sikhs. His testimony in front of the US Senate demonstrates the Sikh capacity to stand with courage and love in the face of enormous tragedy, loss, and grief.

“He killed my mother, Paramjit Kaur, while she was sitting for morning prayers. He shot and killed five more men –all of them were fathers, all had turbans like me. And now people know all our names: Sita Singh. Ranjit Singh. Prakash Singh. Suvegh Singh. Satwant Singh Kaleka. This was not supposed to be our American story. This was not my mother’s dream… Senators, my mother was our biggest fan, our biggest supporter. She was always there for us, she always had a smile on her face. But now she’s gone. Because of a man who hated her because she wasn’t his color? His religion?…I want to tell the gunman who took her from me: You may have been full of hate, but my mother was full of love.”[3]

 

This eloquent proclamation of love from a young Sikh man who had just lost his mother exemplifies how Sikhs continue to respond to these hate crimes. Rather than giving in to hate, anger, revenge, and fear Sikhs continue to stand with strength, courage and compassion.

The Sikh Gurus teach us how to live in Ik OngKar, with Nirbhao & Nirvair. How to be fearless warriors who also do not cause fear. How to be without enmity, to have no enemies and recognize our shared humanity. The warrior saint concept can serve as an ethical model for us all – to not vilify the other, but to act with compassion, grace, dignity, and understanding, even in the face of hostility and adversity.

 

Guru Nanak Dev Ji in this shlok instructs:

Jo to praem khaelan kaa chaao || Sir dhar talee galee maeree aao ||

If you desire to play this game of love with me, then step onto my path with your head in hand, and do not heed public opinion.

(Siri Guru Granth Sahib,1412)

The Sikh perspective that we must first conquer the ego-centered-mind to serve others underpins the warrior-saint tradition that calls us to stand against injustice and defend those in need; whereby serving others we serve the Divine interconnected whole. The Sikh Gurus teach us that the root cause of injustice and oppression is our haumai. That our selfish desires build walls between you and me but never make us truly happy. They teach that our desires are thirsts that can never be quenched while our minds beg for more, blind to the gifts we have already been given. It is our selfish nature that obscures our recognition of the Divine Light within ALL and

separates us from our humanity.

Psychoanalysis teaches us that the separation from the greater whole causes a deep existential pain, lack or void that the ego tries to fill by creating an economy of exchange that treats others as objects that can be used, bought, or sold. This existential grief and pain is then externalized, expressed as an economic lack, that can only be fulfilled through accumulation and oppression and that can only be solved by vilifying and hating the other rather than looking within one’s own mind, heart and self. Today we see this existential cum economic grief and pain projected onto precarious minority communities worldwide. From the killing of Srinivas in Kansas and the shooting of Deep Rai, a Sikh man in Kent, Washington who were both told “go back to your country,” to the bomb threats at Jewish community centers and fires and shooting at mosques, to the most recent killing of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville who, though concerned about the potential violence that would occur, decided to follow the path of love and protest the hateful white supremacist rally. She offered her heart and head to stand against social inequality and injustice, and was killed by a motorist full of hate and rage.

The Sikh teachings, enshrined in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, offer an ethical model to train our bodies and minds to live as warrior Saints who have the courage (“cor” is the latin root for heart) to give of one’s head, to give of one’s ego, to stand against injustice and defend those in need, for the Freedom and Equality of ALL. The 5th Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji in Sukhmani Sahib gives a formula for how humans can remove their inner turmoil, pain, and sorrow to find peace, love and acceptance. He instructs:

Replace self-centered thought, speech and action

With love for All

By meditating on the Divine Unity of Creation

Our Pain and Sorrow Depart

And Peace dwells in our hearts and mind

We perform good deeds and selfless service for Others

Because we see no separation between our self and others

Once we are able to recognize the Divine Light that shines within ALL

We are then able to treat enemies and friends alike

And to peacefully accept whatever happens

 

The path of the Warrior Saint is not an easy one, it is difficult. The Siri Guru Granth Sahib instructs us to stand tall in the face of darkness, so that ALL may live in Chardi Kalaa! As a reminder to lead by example, I offer the “Song of the Khalsa” sung at the end of every 3HO Sikh Gurdwara, before the Anand Sahib:

 

Many speak of courage

Speaking cannot give it

It’s in the face of death that we must live it

When things are down and darkest

That’s when we stand tallest

Until the last star falls

We won’t give an inch at All

 

Stand as the Khalsa

Strong as steel, steady as stone

Give our lives to God and Guru

Mind and Soul

Breath and Bone[4]

 

SAT NAM.

 

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa! Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!

 

[1] I also teach courses on Hinduism, Jainism, Yoga and a Master’s Comparative Mysticism course in which students practice Engaged Learning.

[2] (Dasam Granth 51)

[3] Testimony of Harpreet Singh Saini before the UNITED STATES SENATE Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights Committee on the Judiciary on “Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism” September 19, 2012.

 

[4] “Song of the Khalsa” written by S. S. Livtar Singh Khalsa.


About the Author

Nirinjan Kaur Khalsa, Ph.D. is Clinical Professor Sikh & Jain Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California where she teaches a highly popular course “Sikhism: Warrior Saints.” Professor Khalsa received her Ph.D in Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Michigan in 2014 on “The Renaissance of Sikh Devotional Music.” She has conducted extensive ethnographic research throughout Northern India, interviewing the remaining memory bearers of the Gurbani Kirtan parampara and was honored by 13th generation kirtaniya Bhai Baldeep Singh (grandnephew of Bhai Avtar and Bhai Gurcharan Singh) as the first female exponent of the Amritsari-Baaj on the jori-pakhawaj. Her ongoing research investigates diversity in the Sikh Diaspora particularly as it relates to gendered and institutionalized norms within the devotional sphere.

 

Aug 072017
 

I. J. Singh

Abstract

All existence is the visible expression of Hukam and defies comprehension.

Hukum, central to most religions, often implies micromanagement by the Creator. Life is really the one breath we are engaged in at any given moment.  The breath that preceded it is the past; the breath yet to be taken is the future, never guaranteed.  The breath we are in defines the present; that alone is life.  Accept gracefully whatever happens — it is not in the realm of the impossible. Stop worrying and start living; treasure the moment that stands between life and death. This promises constant renewal in life. Look not to an imaginative string of past lives, and cyclical births for transferring responsibility to unknown others.

The Creator created systems for life to exist and evolve, allowing us considerable free will to rewrite our own narrative. We live and die by a complex interaction of genes and environment. Which of life’s battles to fight and from which to walk away? This, the most difficult to see as the determinant of sanity and survival, is the wisdom of Hukam and sets the trajectory of our lives.

Hukum: Accept the unexpected turns of life — pain and pleasure — as two robes in the wardrobe.


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HUKAM: What it is & What it Aint?

I.J. Singh

Abstract

All existence is the visible expression of Hukam and defies comprehension.

Hukum, central to most religions, often implies micromanagement by the Creator. Life is really the one breath we are engaged in at any given moment.  The breath that preceded it is the past; the breath yet to be taken is the future, never guaranteed.  The breath we are in defines the present; that alone is life.  Accept gracefully whatever happens — it is not in the realm of the impossible. Stop worrying and start living; treasure the moment that stands between life and death. This promises constant renewal in life. Look not to an imaginative string of past lives, and cyclical births for transferring responsibility to unknown others.

The Creator created systems for life to exist and evolve, allowing us considerable free will to rewrite our own narrative. We live and die by a complex interaction of genes and environment. Which of life’s battles to fight and from which to walk away? This, the most difficult to see as the determinant of sanity and survival, is the wisdom of Hukam and sets the trajectory of our lives.

Hukum: Accept the unexpected turns of life — pain and pleasure — as two robes in the wardrobe.

Introduction

How do I perceive the meaning of “Hukam” — a defining expression in Sikhi, nay, in pretty much all religions? I also refer you to the exposition of Hukam by Hew McLeod, in Punjabi University’s Encyclopaedia of Sikhism, 1996.

Hukam is Arabic for Order or Command. In English, Order has two meanings: Directive or edict, also systematic organization, as opposed to random disorder.

Hukam in Sikhi embraces both concepts: Edict or Command, but also organized structure.

In popular usage Hukam implies micromanagement of the creation by the Creator – that nothing happens without divine, precise control over all creation.

Contrary to popular belief, I do not mean that an all-pervading Creator controls each and every move that I or anyone will make. That He/She keeps precise, detailed tabs on every one’s shenanigans – yours and mine, ranging from the hopelessly evil or banal to the sometimes decent. I have difficulty ramping up serious fealty to these formulations. I refer you to Mark Twain’s “Letters from The Earth” for a rib tickling parody of such ideas.

I grant that it is reassuring to envision a Creator exerting precise control of our individual lives with every “T” already crossed and every “I” dotted. No one action then, not even a breath, is mine to perform, because it is already predetermined to be or not. Yet, our lives remain unpredictable – not only the seminal moments of birth and death, but minutia of our existence as well.

If the Creator is a micromanager, then nothing that I do is my doing, nothing is my fault; no way can I be held responsible or stand trial for any wrong I may do or contemplate.

Wouldn’t a micromanaging Creator become a free-pass-out-of-jail card? And our relationship with him becomes a bartering system – entirely transactional. Can we negotiate? “You (Creator) forgive me and I promise to recite so many (?) Sukhmani Sahibs every day for so many(?) days.” Sounds familiar? Very human?

How Sikhi Defines Hukam?

On page 1, Guru Granth engages with ideas of Hukam. How is Truth to be attained – veil of falsehood torn asunder (“Kiv sachiara hoyiyae kiv koorae thutae paal”) — asks Guru Nanak; his answer is the next line: By walking the Way of Hukam (“Hukum rajai chalnaa Nanak likhyaa naal.”).

The next stanzas tell us that all existence is the visible expression of Hukam. It transcends all description and nothing exists outside Hukam. The laws of cause and effect are an aspect of Hukam. The Creator in his fullness is beyond human comprehension, so too, is Hukam, which is the revelation of Akal Purkh., Hukam is a mystical experience that cannot be fully elaborated. Thus, Hukam gathers into a single principle all of God’s activity.

Notwithstanding Hukam, in fact, at some level we recognize that within the larger system that remains mysterious, humans have considerable free will. If there were absolutely no choices open to us, then Guru Nanak would not have said “As you sow so shall you reap (“aapay beej aapay hee khaahu” Guru Granth p. 4). Nor would Guru Granth advise us to live well and joyfully by our own honest efforts (“Uddam karendia(n) jio too” p. 522) or to resolve our own affairs/needs by our own efforts (“aapan hathee aapnaa aapay hee kaaj savareeyae.” p. 473).

Do not rue the results, nor lose the self in pride and pelf, but be at peace with life. Why? To live another day through both defeat and triumph. Engage with the present to experience Hukam. The goal here is to make honest choices, do the best with them and accept cheerfully what life offers in return.

What does it mean to live in the present?

Keep in mind that in Punjabi and related Indic languages, the word for both tomorrow (the future) and yesterday (the past) is the same – kull.

We largely live in an imaginary past, pining for an unknown but rosier future; the present is then lost between these enduring passions. This is the crux of our misalignment — our existence between utopia and dystopia.

How then to redirect the mind towards the present?   In Thailand, Buddhist monks meditate on dead bodies (corpses) to refocus on the present.  This is meant to enable them to come to terms with the transitory nature of our puny, but not pointless, existence, indeed of all life.

Undoubtedly, the past is loaded with regrets, the future just as full of worries that might or might not be. With our obsession with the past that needs to be buried and the future yet unborn, we overlook the present. Our paradigm shifts only when we accept that what will be will be, and our focus needs to turn to the present moment, not the moment that is now in the past, nor the moment that is yet to come. Discard worry by accepting Hukam; whatever happens is not in the realm of the impossible, so why worry when anything happens (Guru Granth: “Chinta ta ki keejiyae jo anhoni hoye” p. 1426).

And then a most challenging and meaningful citation (Guru Granth p. 660) can hold us — that we are creatures of one single breath only (“Hum aadmi hae(n) ik dami….).  This tells us bluntly that life is really the one breath that one is engaged in at any given moment.  The breath that preceded it is already in the past; the breath yet to be taken is the future, never certain, never guaranteed.  Only the breath we are in defines the present; that alone is life.  It is best then to live in the present to its hilt in that single breath that defines it.  In fact, to me the idea of “Hukam” or divine will that pervades Sikh teaching means exactly that — living fully and productively in the moment.

Our existence remains limited to the one breath in the present moment of time. Is it that easy?  Not really, but it is essential.

XXX

In Punjabi and related languages, the word “Admi” for a human can be parsed as “Aa” and “Dum” where Dum means breath and Aa stands for both the first primal number, One, as well for an invitation “to come”.  So, admi speaks of a creature of one breath — the singular reality of a single breath.  I am not a linguist but I wonder if the Biblical“Adam and the Punjabi Admi are related terms that come to us from shared linguistic and philosophic antecedents.

Briefly Hukam asks us to stop worrying and start living by a realignment of our lives to become alive to the reality of the moment that stands between life and death – in other words, we need develop a relationship of deep trust with the unknown, the unseen.

Walking in Hukam frees us of guilt, misplaced hubris and pride. Every moment then is a new dawn – the start of a new day. It effectively clears the slate for the future – the next moment – to write anew.

In short, the directive of Hukam becomes living life fully, honestly, and purposefully — to live in the present, to live fully in the moment. Hence the promise of constant renewal in life.

But People Will Be People

Thoreau bewailed human existence as lives of quiet desperation. What does it mean to accept the Creator’s Hukam? If a confession of helplessness, it is then not willing acceptance of what is but more like swallowing a bitter pill, because no alternative exists.

Then we cavil; Well! It’s God’s will that my lottery ticket didn’t pan out – perhaps next time. But an underlying thought tortures us: Why my neighbor won the lottery and I didn’t? Surely God knows, as I do, that my neighbor is a no-good jerk; and God knows as I do that I am a good person. I regularly attend services at gurduara and say my requisite prayers, I feed the homeless, so on and so forth. … ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

And then an easy way out of the dilemma appears — lean on an imaginative string of past lives, cyclical birth and so on and on…of the Creator’s mysterious ways for transferring responsibility to unknown others. Hindu mythology certainly helps, doesn’t it? As does literal interpretation of such references in the Guru Granth.

A Possibly Reasonable Alternative

A more rational explanation exists. A benevolent Creator created the systems in which life exists and evolves. (A version of intelligent design!) He/She allows us considerable free will to rewrite our own narrative. We live and die as per the laws that govern us on Earth. Our lives are shaped by a complex interaction of our genes and the environment – our nature and nurture. And despite the many who pretend to read the past and foresee the future, life remains a mystery; a box, fuller than Pandora’s, that delivers pain, suffering, even death. This box also bestows on us heavenly delights and unequaled success. Unearned and uninvited come the many defeats, as do life’s triumphs. Like manna from heaven, they are best not seen as entitlements or earned.

Hukum, then, becomes a state of mind. It determines how we engage, in Shakespeare’s words, with “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” An ancient prayer goes, “O God grant me the courage to change the things that I can change, the serenity to accept what I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.” The third clause is crucial.

Which battles to fight and from which battles to walk away with grace. This, the most difficult to see as a governing commandment of life, is a major determinant of our sanity and survival. It is the wisdom of Hukam and sets the trajectory of our lives.

To live with equanimity means to accept the unexpected turns that life offers — pain and pleasure, success and defeat — and see them as two robes in the wardrobe that each of us wears interchangeably (“Sukh dukh doey dar kaparay pehrey aaye manukh” p. 149). Guru Granth also advises that much in life is beyond our design, so accept it with good grace as the essential reality — whatever pleases (the Creator) is the good deed (“Jo tudh bhavae saayi bhali kaar” p. 3). As a popular adage goes: Que sera sera.

Thus, we cultivate positive lives without obsessing its downturns. And to face life with a realistic but hopeful and positive stance.

Sikhi takes this issue head on.  A plethora of citations can be mustered but I drive home my point with only two.  The Guru Granth (p. 922) pointedly challenges us with “Eh sareera meriya iss jug meh aye ke kya tudh karam kamaaya” (What footprints will you leave in the sands of time?) and then it adds (p. 1102,) “Pahila marn kabool kar jeevan ki chhudd aas” (Accept first the reality of death and abandon all hope of endless life).

How then to leave the world? An iota better would be plenty!

ijsingh99@gmail.com

2017

 


About the Author

I.J. SINGH came to the United States in 1960 on a Murry & Leonie Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. He received a PhD in anatomical sciences from the University of Oregon Medical School (now Oregon Health Sciences University), and a DDS from Columbia University. He is a professor emeritus of anatomical sciences at New York University. He serves on the Editorial Advisory Boards of the Sikh Review (Calcutta) as well as Nishaan (New Delhi), and writes a regular internet column on Sikhi

Aug 072017
 

Dr. Kawaljeet Singh Anand

Abstract

What is love? Scientists argue that “reducing love to its component parts helps us to understand human sexuality”.  Love is not just a mental state that leads to physical bonding, it is the highest of human emotions.  Throughout civilization, human beings have experienced and expressed Love for each other; some have described the attributes of Love through eulogies, poetry, drama, or fiction.  Like the taste of honey, true love can be experienced but just cannot be conveyed through words.  By raising our level of consciousness, all of us can intuitively realize more transcendent, subtle, and enduring meanings of Love.  We will realize that Love is an ingredient in creating the cosmos, it is the primal force that sustains Nature all around us, and it is the glue that holds the family, community and society together.  By consistently applying the Guru’s teachings in our lives, we will progress through the four stages of Love thereby transforming our lives from human to the divine state that our Gurus exemplified.


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Following the Guru’s path from human love to Divine Love

Abstract:

What is love? Scientists argue that “reducing love to its component parts helps us to understand human sexuality”.  Love is not a mental state that leads to physical bonding, it is the highest of all human emotions! Throughout civilization, human beings have experienced and expressed Love for each other; some have described the attributes of Love through eulogies, poetry, drama, or fiction. Like the taste of honey, true love can be experienced but cannot be conveyed through words. By raising our level of consciousness, all of us will intuitively realize the transcendent, subtle, and enduring meanings of Love. We will realize that Love is an ingredient in cosmic creation, the primal force that sustains Nature all around us, the glue that holds family, community and society together. By consistently applying the Guru’s teachings to our lives, we will progress through the four stages of Love thereby transforming our lives from human to Divine Love that the Gurus exemplified.

* * * * *

An article in the scientific journal Nature[1], argues that “reducing love to its component parts helps us to understand human sexuality”. What a travesty of Love! To think that the highest human emotion can been “reduced” to a physical interactions of bodies in the act of procreation is like labeling poison as the “amrit” (the elixir of immortality). Once a deeper understanding of Love is attained, nothing can be farther from the truth! Love is not just a mental state that leads to physical bonding; to assert that “biologists may soon be able to reduce certain mental states associated with love to a biochemical chain of events” 1 is both myopic and misleading!!!

Current events and the media constantly bombard our intellect with images and examples of hatred, death and destruction. Often, we hear about road rage accidents, hijacked planes, mass shootings, or other catastrophes. When hatred becomes more apparent, in communal clashes, internecine struggles, or wars, we try to protect our own through any means. Hate becomes a soul-searing experience, when a loved one is attacked or killed. The death of unknown people can be impersonal but the death of a loved one leaves a gaping hole in the fabric of our lives, and forces us to seriously choose between hatred versus love. Viewed from anger or cynicism, hatred appears powerful and permanent, whereas love appears weak and transitory! Deep down, however, below the chattering of the mind or arguments of the intellect, our heart refuses to accept that Love is weak or transient, it longs for deeper meanings of Love. If animal instincts are overcome, all human beings will intuitively seek more sublime, subtle, and enduring meanings of Love. If solely driven by self-interest or sense-gratification, we may find little or no purpose in these meanings, but those inspired to explore the spiritual realms by the Guru’s Word may feel the burning desire to undertake this journey.

Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have experienced and expressed Love for each other; gifted beings described the attributes of Love through eulogies, poetry, drama, or fiction; based on feelings or fantasy, or fable or folklore. Poets, philosophers, and scientists pondered the question of “What is Love?” but they could only come up with reductionist or simplistic answers that were unsatisfactory, even to themselves! Like honey, Love can be experienced, it cannot be described. No amount of knowledge about honey will create that indelible experience gained from a drop placed on the tongue. Love, as experienced by human beings, has the same result – no amount of talk about can supplant the beauty, inner joy, the fulfilling aspects of that experience, one that has inspired the greatest achievements of mankind!

Though all of creation can experience Love, only human beings can understand the essence of Love, realize the deepest meaning of Love, or to access the inner, inexhaustible bounty of Divine Love. Let us all approach an understanding of Love from the spiritual, the mental, and the practical aspects of human experience. The first proves that our universe cannot be created without Love, the second reveals Love as a powerful force in Nature, and the third shows how Love holds the fabric of human society together, yet one must be consciously aware that all these are simply the aspects of one entity, Love. Just as a statue photographed from different angles remains one, similarly, a description of the different aspects of Love will not alter what it is.

Love as an ingredient in Cosmic Construction

During his lifetime, Albert Einstein (1879-1955) realized the apparent existence of the universe, also eloquently stated by another great physicist, Sir James Jeans, who wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter . . . it is the creator and governor of the realm of matter”[2]. Guru Nanak said that Maya is a product of the mind, investigating it with the tools of the mind – like reason, or logic, or deduction, proposing or rejecting hypotheses – is like a fish (or an army of fishes) trying to map the extent of the ocean! What a futile and foolish endeavor! The human mind, which exists within and functions through the facility of consciousness, can never fathom the extent of consciousness and beyond. Whereas scholars and intellectuals, scientists and philosophers had partial success, the saints and seers made greater headway through intuition and revelations about the nature of the manifest universe. They realized and proclaimed an Absolute Reality, one that exists eternally, without undergoing any change or modification, which remains beyond time and space. The human mind, using the five organs of sense – capable of recognizing sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell, can only comprehend the properties of this reality, not the substance of absolute reality itself! Einstein referred to this “perceived reality” as an illusion, but remained silent about the nature of the Absolute Reality.

So, to examine spiritual aspects of Love, we must understand the process of Creation, how the Uncaused Cause, the “Anhad Shabd”, behind all this kaleidoscopic reality created the manifested universe. From popular science, the Big Bang Theory is a commonly accepted cosmological model of the universe, one that is best supported by most of the available scientific evidence. “Big Bang” generally refers to the idea that the universe initially existed as a primordial, extremely hot and extremely dense nucleus at a finite time in the past (around 13.73 ± 0.12 billion years ago), and that it continues to expand to this day! Georges Lemaître (1894-1966), a Belgian mathematician and Catholic priest, first propounded the theory of the Big Bang, although he called it the “hypothesis of the primeval atom”. This cosmological model was built on Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, but to gain acceptance it needed Edwin Hubble’s discovery in 1929, showing that galaxies were moving away at high speeds. Almost 6 years after it was proposed, Einstein finally accepted Lemaître’s theory after a series of seminars in January 1933, saying, “This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened.”

Without any evidence for the earliest instant of the expansion, however, the Big Bang theory does not provide any explanation for such an initial condition, though it may explain the general evolution of the universe after the Big Bang and onwards. Where did that dense, primordial nucleus come from? Or, what triggered the initial rapid expansion and cooling of the universe? From the Big Bang theory have emerged other Inflationary Universe Theories, perhaps starting with Alan Guth in the late 1990’s (The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins). Since then, the scientific community has proposed 50 different variants, but all the current theories have serious flaws and cannot explain the mysterious origins of our universe.

To develop an understanding of Creation, physics or astronomy are worthless, the mind and the intellect are powerless, space exploration or technology cannot help, thereby forcing us to look at metaphysical explanations of the universe, using the tools of spirituality like intuition or revelation. Few scientists realize that these same tools have given us most of the greatest discoveries in science!

Before the Universe comes into creation, nothing exists – there is no Time or Space, no galaxies, no Milky Way, no light, no sound, no matter exists – not even the “dense matter” that made up Lemaître’s “primeval atom”. Yet, there is an Absolute Reality, a Divine and Blissful Awareness, the Akaal Purakh, who remains absorbed in the self as Pure Being. To know itself, this Divine Awareness creates a primordial energy – the “Aadi Shakti”. The innate and inherent nature of energy is propulsive, so it starts expanding in all directions. But the intrinsic nature of the Pure Being is Love, which attracts, which brings close to itself, which abhors separation or any centrifugal forces. Between this expansion and contraction, a vibration is set up, which became the source of all Creation! The Source of this vibration is only One, the Ik Onkaar prescribed by Guru Nanak.

This primal vibration has been described in the scriptures of various religions. Christian texts described it as the Word of God, or Amen:

  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” – St. John I: 1-3
  • “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;” – Revelation 3:14
  • “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth but the Word of God shall stand forever.” – Isaiah 40: 8

Ancient Hindu texts identify the Word of God by various different names, such as “AUM” or “Nad Bind” or “Akash Bani” or “Shabd Brahman

  • “…the Sound principle AUM becomes manifest as prakrithi or Nature” – Hatha Yoga Pradipaka
  • “He hath taken the support of the Word, the melodious tune.” – Chandogya Upanishad
  • “Let the Yogi sit on Sish Asan and while practicing the Vaishnavi mudra, he should hear the sound AUM through his right ear.” – Nad Bind Upanishad
  • “By communion with the Word he will become deaf to the external sounds, and will attain the Turiya Pad or a state of equipoise within a fortnight.” – Nad Bind Upanishad

Islamic texts speak of Kalma, the Word of God, and exalt this vibration as “Amin”, calling it the Sultan-ul-Azkar (the king of prayers) or Saut-i-Sarmadi (the divine song) or Nida-i-Asmani (sound from Heaven) and describe its role in Creation:

  • “The fourteen regions were made by the Kalma.” – the Holy Qu’ran
  • “Take the stopcock from thy ears, and hear thou the voice of emancipation, coming to thee. Attach not to material world, the elixir of life is showering from above.” – Khawaja Hafiz
  • “Grow not skeptical, but attune thyself to the sound coming down from the Heavens. Thy soul shall have revelations from afar. What are these but glimpses of the Unrevealed; were I to speak of these sweet melodies, even the dead shall rise from their graves.” – Maulana Rumi
  • “…the Voice of God comes unto my ears as any other sounds.” – Prophet Mohammed

The Sikh scriptures also speak of Omkaar (the Word) or Shabd Gurmat (the divine counsel) or Gurbani as the Word of God and describe it as immanent in all of creation:

  • “The Word is both earth and ether. These had their being through the Word. This Word expressed itself in other aspects as well. The whole creation sprang up after the Word… O Nanak, that endless Word is reverberating in each heart.”   – Guru Nanak
  • “The all-pervading Word has attracted my entire mind. What else have I to think of? Communion of the soul with the Word creates everlasting Bliss.” – Guru Nanak

Semantic differences exist between religions, but it is clearly evident that the entity they talk about is the same – a Primal Vibration at the beginning of Creation. Whether we call it “Amen”, or “AUM”, or “Amin”, or “Omkaar”, the name does not change the true essence of what it is – an eternal, invisible vibration from which countless streams of creation sprang up, still reverberating as the source of the manifest universe.

Within this vibration, which is eternal and essentially changeless, the Divine Being inserted the idea of change. Out of this idea, being nothing but a figment of imagination or a conceptual notion, the powerful construct of “Time” was born. Thus, Time is measured by change and change is linked inexorably with Time. Without this facility of Time, the human mind is incapable of comprehending the manifest Universe. Because all of Creation happens in one glorious moment, all of the past and all the future (ad infinitum in both directions) occur in the present moment of Now, the feeble human mind cannot make sense of this and therefore needs the conceptual assistance of Time in order to experience or interact with all of Creation. No wonder, then, that Time stands still when the mind is quiescent, or slows down when we are suffering, or speeds up when we are with a loved one! All these experiences show that Time is just an imaginary concept, a mere idea, it exists only in the mind, like a moving mental frame that allows us to make sense of reality.

Within this vibration, which is eternal, continuous, and essentially indivisible, the Divine Being inserted the idea of division. Out of this idea, again, which is nothing but an imaginary concept, the powerful notion of “Space” was born. This Space is filled with primordial energy, which is why the universe continues to expand at an accelerating rate (deduced from the Type Ia supernovae in 1998, later corroborated by measurements of the cosmic microwave background, gravitational lensing, measurements of redshift change, large scale structures). To scientists, it is amazing that the universe continues to expand even after 14 billion years and that the massive gravitational forces postulated within black holes have not swallowed it up! But to the students of spirituality, the primordial energy creating this universe is infinite and inexhaustible, so it will continue to expand infinitely until the Divine Being contracts it back into nothingness again.

These four entities (Being, Energy, Time, Space) acted on the cosmic vibration to make it appear as if it was particulate, like a ray of light illuminating an object appears as discrete photons hitting that object. Divine Awareness is contained in each one of these particles as consciousness – creating, for each particle, an illusion that it was somehow “separate” from the rest, from the Whole. This illusion is so persistent and widespread, that it becomes the source of “Haumai” or Ego. To overcome the powerful Ego, we must realize – as deeply as our Being allows – that Love is the only antidote to the disease of ego and that Love and Energy are the only two ingredients that created the Onkaar – so they are very source and essence of the manifest Universe!

Love is, therefore, at the core of all Creation; it occupies a position even greater than the Word of God! Love is the very essence of the Divinity that supports Creation in the entire universe! Just as a flame has two aspects – heat and light that cannot be separated from it, similarly, Divinity has two aspects – Truth and Love that cannot be separated from God. Truth is the static aspect of God, Love is the dynamic aspect of God.

From this perspective, the entire universe is simply an expression of Love, all its myriad forms are suffused with this Love; even our being is filled with Love – actually, in essence, each of us is a manifestation of Love walking on two feet[3]! Just live with this thought for a while, and Creation around us will start revealing the innumerable ways in which it is loving us and receiving our love.

Love as the Primal Force in Nature

Having realized that Love and Energy are the primary ingredients used to create the universe, we may start to realize the importance of Love, or perhaps start looking for an answer to Einstein’s dilemma. Albert Einstein was baffled as to why every nucleus, which contains positively charged protons in extremely close proximity, does not fall apart simply because of the intense repulsive forces that would be generated between similarly charged particles. Even at the end of his life, Einstein was puzzled by this seeming anomaly. Since there were no gravitational forces within the nucleus, it seemed miraculous that protons in every atom could stay in such close proximity without repelling each other.

Given our knowledge from the previous section, it is easy to see why the only force holding the nucleus of every atom together is Love. Atoms come together to form molecules, their chemical bonds are strands of Love, physically manifested as a sharing of electrons or ions, and dancing in unison with all of Creation. Fritjof Capra, an Austrian-born American physicist, who performed ground-breaking research on subatomic particles and systems theory, describes this experience in a preface to his book, “The Tao of Physics”:“I was sitting by the ocean one late summer afternoon, watching the waves rolling in and feeling the rhythm of my breathing, when I suddenly became aware of my whole environment as being engaged in a gigantic cosmic dance….. As I sat on that beach my former experiences came to life; I “saw” cascades of energy coming down from outer space, in which particles were created and destroyed in rhythmic pulses; I “saw” the atoms of the elements and those of my body participating in this cosmic dance of energy; I felt its rhythm and I “heard” its sound…….”

All of Nature is engaged in a loving play between creation and consciousness…. The sunlight lovingly warms our fingers and toes, the moonlight soothes and lights our way playing hide ‘n seek in the clouds, the stars twinkle loving messages in a Morse code entirely their own, the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees, the rainbow and the raindrops – all of these exist simply for the sake of sharing their love with the rest of creation. Nature behaves in myriad ways to clearly proclaim the ingredient of love…

  1. Love always expands – and so does Nature, overcoming all obstacles through the power of love;
  2. Love is selfless – and therefore Nature provides her bounty for all beings to share, never holding back anything for herself;
  3. Love is forgiving – human beings may exploit Nature for their personal benefit, but all the damage perpetrated by selfish beings can be repaired quickly if we treat Nature with love and respect…
  1. Love expands constantly and so does Prakriti or Nature. Not only is the manifest physical universe expanding, but all around us, Nature is constantly expanding as well. As a tree grows it expands from within, as a flower opens – nothing forces it to blossom – it just expands from within, as a leaf grows it expands from within – nothing is added to it from the outside, but all the change comes from within. Life is expressed through expansion, using the power of Love from within. This is also the underlying principle behind evolution and survival of the fittest. When forces within Nature are aligned such that they create an obstacle for the expansion of life forms, these life forms will lovingly adapt, thus allowing the species to expand beyond every obstacle. The expansive power of Love caused the earliest proto-organisms to escape the confines of oceanic life and evolve into air-loving plants, or snails, or reptiles; the expansive power of love taught the dinosaurs to fly or the nightingales to sing; it is expansive love that drove chimpanzees to start walking on two legs or humans to transcend the frontiers of space and time. Again, it is the expansive power of Love that drives each one of us to aim for the best, to excel in what we do, to touch as many lives as we can, to break down barriers or overcome difficulties that are insurmountable.
  2. Love is selfless and so is Prakriti or Nature. Does a tree ever bear fruit for its own consumption? Do the bees consume the honey they collect? Do the rivers or clouds hoard water for themselves? Out of love, each aspect of Nature is giving its bounty and sacrificing itself to support higher and higher forms of creation. Plants offer themselves to insects or herbivores or man, worms sacrifice themselves for birds, birds and fish offer themselves (or their eggs) to sustain mammals, lower mammals serve or provide sustenance to man. From oxygen to food to shelter, there are myriad ways in which the well-being of mankind depends on Nature. Being the highest form of life in the universe, all aspects of Nature are eager to serve the needs of mankind.

A common characteristic of early civilizations was their love and respect for Nature. Ancient cultures lived in harmony with Nature, sharing its bounty with all in their community. They did not have many comforts, but, because of their unselfish approach to life, they effortlessly used the tools of intuition, telepathy, clairvoyance for their survival. Today, the suffering of aboriginal tribes now living in Australia, India, or remote parts of the world has forced them to develop a sense of ownership, or selfishness, and are losing their intuition and culture. Throughout history, human powers were progressively lost, only because they were used for personal benefit, without caring for all of humanity and all aspects of creation.

A tendency to garner the benefits of Nature or products and services of society for oneself, or one’s extended self (family, friends, clan, race, or country), though considered normal, is a learned and unnatural habit. Self-interest has become the primary driving force, the commonest motivation, or the only consideration for our choices and actions today. Very few can overcome our conditioned selfishness that starts from infancy, is confirmed during childhood, and becomes ingrained in youth and early adulthood. This ubiquitous conditioning leads us to believe that an individual is “separate” from the rest of creation, and therefore, it must “protect” its interests from the rest of creation. The relentless pursuit of greater personal benefits, coupled with the constant exploitation of Nature, has resulted in an increasing frequency of natural disasters, global warming, epidemic diseases, wars and internecine struggles – bringing mankind to the brink of disaster!

  1. Love is forgiving and so is Prakriti or Nature. All the damage perpetrated by selfish beings can be repaired quickly if we collectively start treating Nature with love and respect. The greatest of environmentalists have recognized this aspect of Nature, how it quickly forgives the excesses or exploitations perpetrated by mankind.

My fourth reason for hope is the incredible resilience of nature. I have visited Nagasaki, site of the second atomic bomb that ended World War II. Scientists had predicted that nothing could grow there for at least 30 years. But, amazingly, greenery grew very quickly. One sapling actually managed to survive the bombing, and today it is a large tree, with great cracks and fissures, all black inside; but that tree still produces leaves. ….I have seen such renewals time and again, including animal species brought back from the brink of extinction. …Let us develop respect for all living things. Let us try to replace impatience and intolerance with understanding and compassion. And love.

Dr. Jane Goodall (1934 – ) http://www.janegoodall.org

Numerous stories abound of recovery and repair in ecosystems that were damaged potentially beyond repair, because of uncontrolled human greed and pollution. The Caribbean reefs were degraded by massive disease-induced mortality of the herbivorous urchin Diadema antillarum in 1983. Declining reef health was characterized by progressive increases in macroalgae. Despite scientific predictions of irreparable damage, recent discoveries showed that the reef has rebounded much faster than predicted, even following desultory efforts to rescue it. Another example relates to the South China tigers, smallest among the tiger species, that numbered ~4,000 in the early 1950s. These tigers were critically endangered when Communist leader Mao Zedong labeled them as “pests” and ordered their extermination. South China tigers were considered extinct and had not been seen in the wild since 1964. Soon after Chinese farmers became aware of environmental concerns and tried to protect the few remaining forests, a South China tiger was sighted and photographed in the wild as recently as October 12, 2007[4]. If humans show sincere love and respect for Nature, it will respond by repairing the damaged ecosystems with remarkable speed and efficiency – again, teaching us how Love can be giving and forgiving. Could these virtues, manifested by Nature, also help us to repair all the ills of human society?

Love is the Glue in Family, Community & Society

At a sports meet for handicapped children, nine contestants were assembled at the starting line for the 100-meter dash. At the gun, they all started out running to win the race. One little boy, however, stumbled and fell, and began to cry. The others heard him cry; they slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back to him. One girl bent down and kissed him and said, “This will make it better”. Then all nine children linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood up, cheering for several minutes….. Witnesses of this event are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we all know one thing: when one of us falls or fails, we all lose! What matters in life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters is helping others to win, even if it means changing course.

Human brains are only three times larger than the great apes, closest to us in evolution, yet they have evolved many skills that are not seen in other primates, from dexterity and balance, to complex languages, to mathematics and scientific reasoning, to music and art and culture. Most of these advances can be linked to social interactions and human values. The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology tested 106 chimpanzees, 32 orangutans, and 105 two-year-old children (who had used language for less than 1 year, before literacy or schooling). They found that children and adult chimpanzees had comparable cognitive skills for dealing with the physical world, but children were far more sophisticated for dealing with social constructs than the two ape species[5]. Can we ignore the unique human ability to build social relationships, which have nothing to do with procreation or the struggle for survival?

The first source of this social-cultural conditioning is from their mother or surrogate mother-figure. Slowly, patiently, consistently, playfully, joyously, and lovingly, a mother teaches her child basic values and social behaviors, the means of communication, the control of bodily urges and impulses, and countless other things that go into developing a child’s “social intelligence”. The child consistently experiences love and learns the meaning of Love. This early mother-infant bond becomes the template with which a child views the world; not only it enhances the child’s cognitive development and exploratory behaviors, but also becomes the basis of a child’s emotional regulation. Any disruption or derangement of these early experiences in infancy have dire consequences for their ability to form mutually supportive relationships, or friendships with peers, or the social skills to live and succeed within society.

Love within the family shows up as concern for the well being of others, a sensitivity to their needs, a willingness to happily sacrifice one’s self-interest. From affectionate interactions in the family emerge altruistic motives in society. Unlike material goods or worldly credits, love grows when it is shared. Love is the basis for building character in children. The highest human qualities: patience, forbearance, truthfulness, charity, speaking sweetly and/or softly – these are different manifestations of Love. Verily, love is the core of all human values!

Great leaders have recognized and propagated these values. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. realized “a web of mutuality”, President John F. Kennedy recognized “our common humanity”, and used it to fight injustice. As our innate oneness between human beings is recognized more and more, collaboration overtakes competition, service supersedes selfishness, being together is more than being better. Love literally is the glue that holds a family, a community, or a society together – because it allows humans to rise above the motives of self-preservation and self-interest. Examples of love are around us all the time. A mother’s love for her infant even under the most trying circumstances, a family’s response to the sickness of a loved one, a community’s support for accident victims, or society’s response to a natural disaster. Love manifests as “random and senseless acts of kindness” all the time and allows us to experience a higher calling than other creatures. More and more we see people simply helping people, children sharing their lunch box with less fortunate classmates, high schoolers volunteering at homeless shelters, young adults launching or enrolling in social entrepreneurship programs. Indeed, despite what the popular media may project, waves of violence and fear-motivated actions are becoming more stark, but fewer and more restricted; whereas love-motivated actions are slowly gaining ground and popularity. Philanthropists like Bill Gates and Warren are the role models of today!

Today, as the current economic, environmental, social and political problems seem to overwhelm even the most powerful governments and multinational corporations, can the power of Love help us heal the wounds of greed and selfishness and hatred? Or solve the most complex and pressing problems facing humanity today? Families, communities, societies, and governments must rise above their selfish motives, to cooperate, collaborate, and collectively address the problems that threaten our planet. When leaders are making the most difficult decisions, they may well ask: “what is our most loving option?” or even consider the words of Emmet Fox:

“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer, no disease that enough love will not heal, no door that enough love will not open, no gulf that enough love will not bridge, no wall that enough love will not throw down, no sin that enough love will not redeem.

   It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake – a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.”

Just as the body’s cells are organized into tissues, organs, and organ systems, each of which contribute to the overall well-being of the body, so too, all individuals, groups, and organs of society must contribute to its well-being. Cells or tissues that garner additional resources for themselves leading to unbridled growth are cancerous, ultimately threatening the survival of the body they arose from. Similarly, the organs of society (like health care, or banking, or industry) that gain excessive influence or resources and disregard their responsibility for the overall well being of society can threaten its survival.

What is called for, to solve the current economic, environmental, social, or political crises is our ability to rise above our narrow self-interests. In the Recession of 2008, “greed layered upon greed, frosted with recklessness” brought the entire banking system to disaster! To avoid mishaps like this, our emphasis must shift from accumulation of wealth to sharing of wealth, with an equitable distribution of the resources and benefits in society. And the motive for this approach will come from Love, not from a desire for power or privilege or self-aggrandizement of any sort. The underlying intent is as important as the actions performed[6].

Only selfless love between communities will solve the Israel-Palestine conflict, or heal the wounds of hostility, or repair the ravages of war. Returning violence with violence only escalates conflict and increases human suffering. Love alone can build trust in the stock market, safeguard the rights of factory workers, or strengthen the moral fiber of corporate America. A health care system driven by love and compassion – not reimbursement, not power or greed, will make the right decisions for each patient and eliminate waste, promote prevention, and enable universal health care for all. The leaders of today must harness the most sublime of human emotions, the underlying cause of Creation, the most powerful binding force in Nature, to solve the pressing problems created by greed, distrust, or self-interest.

The German poet and playwright, Goethe, referred to the world as “the living visible garment of God”. This garment is woven with love, maintained by love, and can be repaired through love. Sohuman ther hand that by progressing through the four stages of Love.

, we can use love only to understand human sexuality or other animal instincts, thus promoting society’s steady march to anarchy and exploitation, destroying humanity in its wake. Or, we can synchronize our heart beats to the pulse of this planet and reap the benefits of sharing our love with all of Creation. How do we do that? Every human being has the opportunity to do that by progressing through the four stages of Love.

The four Stages of Love

Just as pure white light, when passing through a prism breaks up into the colors of the rainbow, similarly, pure love, when passing through the prism of the mind, manifests the entire spectrum of human emotions. But the skeptics would ask: If that is the case, then what about hate? Does that also come from love? The physical world helps us understand this paradox. Just as darkness is defined as the absence of light, or cold is simply the absence of heat – in reality, darkness and cold do not really exist as separate entities! Similarly, hatred is simply the absence of love – when love is focused intensely in one particular direction – the opposite direction perceives an absence of love. Extremists are obsessed with extreme love for some aspect of creation – an idea or an ideal, so they consider other aspects of creation as threatening, or insignificant, and thus dispensable. Under the right conditions, this obsession can overwhelm the rational or discriminative faculties of the human mind and crystallize as a hate crime, or justify the Holocaust, or lead to attacks like those on 9/11. Ostracizing or torturing these individuals simply hardens their stance – or recruits others to their cause! Instead, they need to know and understand the impact of their misdirected love. Again, the advice of Sri Sathya Sai Baba comes to our rescue: “Foster the tiny seed of Love that clings to ‘me’ and ‘mine’; let it sprout into love for the group around you, and grow into love for all mankind, and spread out its branches over animals, birds, and those that creep and crawl, and let that love enfold all things and beings in all the worlds. Proceed from less love to more love, from narrow love to expanded Love”.

The expansion of love occurs in four stages, outlining the natural progression of human love. In the first stage, the widely prevalent form of human love is like a lamp kept in a room. A particular lamp illumines only that room. The glow of this love illumines a small group of people, like family and friends, and does not extend to others. The second stage of love is like the moonlight. This love goes beyond direct relationships and bathes everyone (inside and outside the room), but is not very effulgent or intense. The third stage of human love is selfless, like the sunlight – it brilliantly illuminates those both inside and outside the room – and indeed, all of creation feels its presence. But, it is not constant in the sense that the sun is not visible at night. Of course, this is not a permanent absence, because the sun rises each morning. Likewise too, selfless love may appear to be absent at some times, but it inevitably appears again.

The fourth and final stage is reached when human love is intense and is always present, beyond the confines of worldly relationships, in all places, at all times, under all circumstances. For such a person, all experiences and perceptions are suffused with Love, all thoughts, words and deeds emanate from intense Love, all relationships and interactions are based on Love. Indeed, the fourth stage of Love is imperishable, it is eternal. This degree of love is immanent in each and everyone – with the Guru’s Grace, we all have the potential to attain the fourth stage of Divine Love. Whenever any human being develops such love, they will be established in a peace “that passeth all understanding”, they will be remembered by generations of sincere men and women; – they will be living answers to the question of “what is love?”

[1] Young L. J. Love: Neuroscience reveals all. Nature vol. 457: page 148; January 8, 2009.

[2] R. C. Henry, “The Mental Universe”; Nature 436: 29, 2005.

[3] This conclusion may appear preposterous to those who are cynical or skeptical, or those forced to build a protective shell around their heart, because of some traumatic experience(s) in their life. But, dear reader, just allow for this as a temporary possibility, and later we will discover how only love exists – that hate does not even exist!

[4] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7042257.stm

[5] Esther Hermann and colleagues, Science (Sept. 7, 2007) volume 317: pages 1360-1366.

[6] Anand KJS, Hall RW. Love, pain, and intensive care. Pediatrics 2008, volume 121, issue 4, pages 825-7.

 

 


About the Author

Dr. Kanwaljeet Singh Anand graduated from M.G.M. Medical College, Indore (India). As a Rhodes Scholar at University of Oxford, he received the D.Phil. degree, followed by post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School. His pioneering research was recognized by the British Paediatric Association (1986), American Academy of Pediatrics (1992), International Association for Study of Pain (1994), American Pain Society (2000), Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health (2004). He received the highest international honor in Pediatrics, the 2009 Nils Rosén von Rosenstein Award (given by Swedish Academy of Medicine every 5 years). Dr. Anand presented the “In Praise of Medicine” Public Address at 100th Anniversary of Erasmus University Medical Center (2013), the 2015 Journées Nationales de Néonatologie Address at The Pasteur Institute in Paris, and received the Nightingale Excellence Award (2016) from Stanford Children’s Healthcare. His community service activities founded the Harmony Health Clinic, promoted inter-faith harmony, and served victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, recognized by Father Joseph Biltz Award (2007) from NCCJ and Dr. Martin Luther King “Salute to Greatness” Individual Award (2008) from Governor of Arkansas.  He is currently Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Perioperative & Pain Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.

 

Aug 072017
 

S. Sundeep  Singh (Bobby) Bedi

Abstract

The talk will explain, with audiovisual examples, the use of 360° projection, 4DX technologies that work on all the senses, multi-channel spatial sound and holographic imaging to explain the contemporary relevance of the core values ensconced in Gurbani. The values showcased will be relevant to contemporary life and easily relatable to the youth of today, irrespective of their faith. What we ultimately want to achieve is to impress on young Sikhs and non-Sikhs as well as the international community, that Sikhism is a modern faith and it promotes values that apply today and apply to all of humanity.   The values highlighted will be Secularity, Caste and Gender equality, the use of strength only for the protection of others, irrespective of their faith, caring and sharing and deep respect for nature and the environment.


Video of Presentation


Body of Paper

Communicating the contemporary relevance of Guru Granth Sahib using cutting edge AV Technology

Thousands of years of history have shown that whenever mankind strays into an undesirable space there is a need for correction and some enlightened person takes on the role of a master and attempts to redefine a way of life. Over a period of time this way of life matures into a programmed set of actions and then takes on the shape of a faith or religion.

The suggested practices start being followed in letter, not in spirit.   This leads people away from spirituality and into blind faith. People are again led astray, the cycle is complete and a new Master comes onto the scene and we start again.

Krishna and Moses existed more than four thousand years ago, Buddha and Mahavira walked this earth two thousand five hundred years ago. Five hundred years later there was Christ and four centuries after Christ came Mohammad. In that context Sikhism is a very young religion. The five centuries that have elapsed since its founder GURU Nanak walked upon this earth are but a blink of an eye in the history of men. Events happening at that time are well known; men who lived at that time are easily remembered. It was at that the time that Christopher Columbus stumbled upon the new world, that Vasco da Gama found the route to India, that Magellan completed the first voyage around the world.

William Shakespeare was writing his plays and his complete works were compiled before he compilation of the Granth Sahib. All this just demonstrates how recent and contemporary The Granth Sahib is. More recent than Shakespeare which is taught in schools even today.

The Lodhi tombs are from the time of Nanak’s lifetime; Humayun, whose tomb is not far away, was battling to save his fledgling kingdom when Nanak passed into eternity. The Qutub Minar, in fact, was already dominating Delhi’s skies two centuries before Nanak was born. The beauty is that the text is available with us in its original form, fully authenticated and set to music in specified ragas. This is the story of a very young religion. Its concerns are immediate; its message, fresh.

However, even though it is the most recent and probably the most relevant faith, it is still centuries away from the present world – especially the youth of today. The development of AV technologies in the past few decades have pushed even current written matter into the past. Science text books are supported by animated diagrams comics have become animated films, novels and books are now films and TV. Virtual and augmented reality have enabled people to transport themselves into immersive experiences and environments. All this just means that today’s young people are very unlikely have either the inclination or the languages or even the time to read the spiritual texts – the Gita, Bible, Quran or even the recent Granth sahib, the words of masters or Gurbani. This is sad because many of the values captured in our Gurbani are relevant and even taught today.

Some of them are

  1. Secularism
  2. Gender equality
  3. The use of Violence only in the defense of the defenseless, not for personal gain
  4. Caring and sharing
  5. Deep respect for Nature and Environment

The Mool Project is an initiative that takes Gurbani that relates to or expresses the above five values and communicates them to two key target audiences. The first and primary target is our own children who would otherwise be unwilling to imbibe the values of their faith. The second and equally relevant audience is the international community. People who have a reluctance or difficulty in understanding the tenets of Sikhism. Recent events in the US and other parts of the world have shown that the distinct identity of the Sikhs is confusing them and confusion naturally leads to uncertainty and even negative impressions and actions.

using the latest Audio-Visual technology such as

Dome Projection

Mechanised seats

Multichannel sound

Holography

Technology that uses motion, breeze, perfume etc.

In other words, we talk to young people about core values using their language, their aesthetic and their technology. I believe it is a natural form of evolution.

The Mool Project is designed as a show which is written by well-known writer and Diplomat Navtej Sarna, many of whose words are reproduced in this talk. It will be presented through the medium of Holographs by Kabir Bedi and will be directed by a host of young directors. The Gurbani and other music will be done in a non-traditional manner by contemporary singers and artists and produced by a many time Grammy award winner.

 

It will take several forms. Initially it will be shown as a permanent show housed in a special building in Central Delhi, a stone’s throw from India’s parliament, a location akin to the Smithsonian Institution of Washington DC and subsequently on devices using immersive and wearable technology such as Google Glass etc.

 

Finally, the content will be formatted to be made available globally to anyone who wants to showcase it in locations of their choice.

Bobby Bedi


About the Author

S. Sundeep Singh (Bobby) is a graduate in Economics and an MBA in Finance. He has worked with HCL Technologies Ltd. Philips and Sony before he started Kaleidoscope Entertainment Private Limited. Bobby has produced several national and International award winning films which have featured in Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, Venice, Locarno, Montreal, Goa, Pusan, London and Valladolid film festivals. Some of his films are Bandit Queen, Fire, Mangal Pandey, Maqbool and Saathiya.

Bobby has received the National Award for Best Film by the President of India twice and in 2016 he received a lifetime achievement award by the Valladolid Film Festival in Spain. Apart from producing feature films and directing documentaries, Bobby designs, and produces content for Museums. These include Virasat E Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib, The Mahabharat Multimedia Gallery at Kurukshetra , The Bihar History Museum at Patna and the Baba Baghel Singh Museum at Bangla Sahib.

At present Bobby is creating the MOOL PROJECT, a multi-dimensional show using holography, 360° Projection, and 4DX Technology in New Delhi. Bobby has conceptualized the building and is designing and producing the content.

Bobby has been invited to speak several times on Intellectual Property issues at WIPO, Geneva and has represented the FIAPF (The world Producer Body) at Internet Governance Forum Brazil (2015) and Guadalajara, Mexico (2016) and at the Beijing Treaty (2012). Bobby is on the board of Indian Motion Picture Producers Association and a Vice President of the Film Federation of India. He is also on the board of TiE.