In my position as a somewhat public figure, I sometimes get e-mails or comments suggesting that I shouldn't say this or that, or promote this person or that person, or support x or y. I usually take it with a grain of salt and wish them well and press delete. But in the recent weeks and months, there's a new wave of fanaticism arising in Sikh Dharma around the world. Friends of mine have been threatened, slandered, and generally harassed in a way that is downright scary. And in writing this, I suppose I'm opening myself up to the same. But I can't not address this, especially when perfect strangers feel like they have the right to tell me what I should believe, or imply in some what that I don't understand the tenants of my own faith clearly enough to speak about it.
First--let me make my position very clear--if you are a fanatic of any ilk, I have no interest in defending myself to you. All I have to say to you is, Quit being a fanatic. It's against everything that I know to be Sikhi and it's rooted in a deep-seated self-violence that spreads itself out in waves of shame and blame all around the world.
Second--let me say that although I am Sikh--I am an interfaith Sikh. I take the four doors of the Harimander Sahib seriously, all are welcome and none are turned away. That the one God we recognize is the one God of everyone--no one is outside of God, not even God. And in my heart of hearts I know that if Guru Naanak were alive today, he would not have stopped at "There is no Muslim, no Hindu"; he would have continued on to say, No Christian, No Sikh. I was told this week that I needed to research my own faith more deeply before posting things. Well, you know how well that went over. But it did make me start to think. How do I talk about Sikh Dharma? What are the principles that resonate with me most? I've already left the religion of my childhood because it denied the paths of so many others; and I promised myself I would never sign up for a path that denied other paths.
So here's My Sikh Dharma--and if you don't like it--well, get your own page and write your own truth:
1. "the guru takes you away, and the guru brings you back." With this principle we understand that there is no room for judgement in Sikh Dharma. Everything is by the hand of the One Doer.
2. See the faults of others and then unsee them--from the Ardas, our daily prayer. With this we plant the seed of forgiveness in ourselves and our communities. Forgive, and then forgive again. Operate from the positive and act for the good of all.
3. Humility is the ground. Every step we take as a sikh must be rooted in a deep and all-pervading humility. God is the Doer.
4. Praise is the practice. Just chant--everything else will be taken care of.
5. Identity is everything and nothing. With Guru Naanak we understand the humility of nirgun--without form; and with Guru Gobind Singh we see the radiance of sirgun--with form. Find your place on the spectrum and be yourself, formless within the form.
6. "put your head in your hand" -- conquer your ego and live from your heart. Quit bullying people and just mind your own business and become the dust of the dust of the saint's feet.
7. Service is joy. Sacrifice is love. Become a living Saint by becoming completely and utterly human.
8. God is within--Antarajamee--the Inner Knower of Hearts. There's nothing outside of me.
9. Prayer is a Power. Trust the Guru's Bani and allow it to purify your thoughts, your heart, and your mind.
10. Be still and allow the universe to come to you. Chant the name. Live simply, sing sweetly, serve food, practice right livelihood and become Jiwan Mukht--dead while alive. In this way we live fearlessly and cultivate the courage to sacrifice.
Greetings from the Land of Enchantment
That I may see . . . day four
That I may see . . . Day Two
So that I may see . . . Day One
A Very Subtle Year
Friday Night Rant
Becoming a Teacher
The Internalized Police State
He said . . . she heard
The Shakti Mantra
Down on Me with Iyaanrhee-ai Shabad
Story Time: The Guru Gayatri
The Mother's Shabads
The Pearl: Maiden, Mother, Crone
Track One--Durga Mantra--from The Pearl: Maiden, Mother, Crone