Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Baisakhi

Baisakhi signifies the birth of the Khalsa. The Sikh order that ideally signifies the highest virtues of man. Guru Gobind Singhji the tenth master of the Sikhs rallied the weak and made them Spiritual and Physical warriors through the high ideals exemplified by the Khalsa. There will be Khalsa Day parades throughout Canada in various cities. Tens of thousands will gather in varoius locales to express their beliefs.

On the birthday of the Khalsa I think we should reflect on our roots and where we are today and where we expect to go in the future. We came from a time when just being a Sikh was enough to warrant a death sentence from the ruling government of the day in South Asia. This was pretty much the case several times in Sikh history. So much for the myth of South Asian religious tolerance/ acceptance. Even today religious politics in South Asia can get you killed or at the least discriminated against.

Today, Sikhs have the right to freely practice their faith in many countries. We shouldn't take this lightly or expect that this will always be the case. Sikhs need to regularly drink from the well of inspiration provided by the Gurus and provided by the 11th Master - Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji today. Most of us don't take the time often enough. Our shared history and the examples of Spiritual and Physical bravery need to be learned and understood in context of today's world. We are facing the threat of terrorism and hardline beliefs that don't allow any space for opposition or free worship of belief systems other than those espoused by the would-be tyrants.

We only need look at the Taliban regime that ruled Afghanistan to see a glimpse of the master plan of hardline fascists. IF we want to avoid this future we need to align ourselves with those who believe as we do. In a free society where all can worship according his/her own desire. Legitimate expressions of faith on the part of leaders in this country and many others are frequently alluded to as being dangerous. How many times do you have to read in the newsprint or see on t.v. that someone is "scared" of George Bush or Stephen Harper because one or the other happens to mention God. It's ridiculous and a red herring. The Taliban didn't just have their own belief system, they expected everyone else to abide by it as well. Often, people were killed for not believing the same as them (see all of the executions in Kabul's soccer stadium for offences against Islam often related to adultery or immorality). Sikhs don't believe in torturing or killing anyone for their belief system. Guru Ji advised us to respect the fact that people believe in different faiths.

At the end of the day he advised us to be strong in our own faith system. If someone lives life as a Sikh and projects the confidence which the Guru showed us in life, then others will naturally see the beauty of Sikhi in action and be drawn towards it. We should strive towards the ideal exemplified by the 10th Guru and taught to us by the 11th. Even if we can't live all of the Sikh ideals, we should at least be moving in the direction of being better Sikhs and ipso facto, better human beings for the benefit of all people.

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