Saturday, 27 November 2010

Right to Freedom of Religion

Dear Brother/Sister,

The right to freedom of religion is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution of India. Do we know who stood up to get this right secured for the people of India? Do we know we were deprived of this Fundamental Right in our very own country in the 17th Century? Yes, it was the time when Aurangzeb was forcibly converting the Hindu brothers and sisters of Hindustan to Islam. Embrace Islam or face death - that was his message. Not that one religion is better than the other but forcing one’s faith on other is absolutely wrong. And this was being done in our motherland.

Who at that time came forward to save Hindustan? Who secured the right to freedom of religion for Hindu brothers? Who stopped India from FORCIBLY being converted to an Islamic Country? Was he a Hindu? He should be… why would a person from any other faith come forward to fight with Aurangzeb, the Shehanshah of India? Would you do that? But someone dared… The Hind Ki Chaadar, the 9th Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji.

The Delhi Emperor, Aurangzeb cherished the ambition of converting India into a land of Islam. This philosophy was also pleaded by Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi (1569–1624), leader of the Naqashbandi School, to counter the liberal policies of Akbar's reign. The Emperor's experiment was first carried out in Kashmir since the Kashmiri Pandits as they were always looked up by Hindus in the other parts of the country. The viceroy of Kashmir, Iftikar Khan (1671–1675) carried out the policy vigorously and set about converting non-Muslims by force.

A group of Kashmiri Pandits (Kashmiri Hindu Brahmins), approached Guru Tegh Bahadur and asked for help. They, on the advice of the Guru, told the Mughal authorities that they would willingly embrace Islam if Guru Tegh Bahadur, did the same.

Orders of the arrest of the Guru were issued by Aurangzeb, who was in present day North West Frontier Province of Pakistan subduing Pushtun rebellion. The Guru was arrested at a place called Malikhpur near Anandpur after he had himself departed from Anandpur for Delhi. His arrest was made in July 1675 and he was kept in custody for over three months. He was then cast in an iron cage and taken to Delhi in November 1675.

The Guru was put in chains and ordered to be tortured until he would accept Islam. When he could not be persuaded to abandon his faith to save himself from persecution, he was asked to perform some miracles to prove his divinity. On his refusal, Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded in public at Chandni Chowk on 11 November 1675. Guru Ji is also known as "Hind Di Chadar" i.e. "the shield of India", suggesting that to save Hinduism, Guru Ji gave his life.

Isn’t this the only incident in the WORLD where the Guru of one religion gave his life to save other? But do we even remember this today? Haven’t we (Sikhs and Non-Sikhs) become ignorant? We remember Valentine’s day and celebrate Rose day each year, but what about this day which spreads such a beautiful message of brotherhood, to stand against injustice, to fight for the weak.

For those who make fun of Sikhs by cracking jokes, there can be no one more thankless than you. Be ready to show you face in the court of the Lord.

(Copied from an e-mail)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

I have heard of Saas Giraas simran. What is the historical evidence or origins of this?

Some people use "Saas Giraas simran" and "Swaas Swaas simran" interchangeably. Commonly people say "Saas Giraas", but "Saas" = breath, "Giraas" = morsel of food... i.e. to remember God with every breath and when eating. On the other "Swaas Swaas" refers to remembering God with each breath.

Sadly, many people don't know much about Swaas Swaas simran. Some people think that Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh, the founder of Akhand Kirtani Jatha, had started it. However, as one does more research, read Gurbani, read books, and actually practice Sikhi, you learn new things and develop understanding. Swaas Swaas simran is not invented by Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh. Gurbani talks about Swaas Swaas simran time and time again. There are many shabads, for example:

ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਹੈ ਜੇਤੇ ਮੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੇ ॥
ਸਾਸੁ ਸਾਸੁ ਜਾਇ ਨਾਮੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਸੋ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਸਾਸੁ ਬਿਕਾਰੇ ॥੭॥
"With as many breaths as I have, I chant the Naam, under Guru's Instructions. Each and every breath which escapes me without the Naam - that breath is useless and corrupt. ||7||"
(SGGS - Ang 980)

Gurbani says "Gurmat Naam", meaning Naam in accordance to the Guru's instructions. So what is the Guru's instructions? This is discovered at the Amrit Sanchaar. However, sadly the reality today is that people take Amrit and then ask others like Sants and Holy men "How do we Japp Naam?" Why are they asking others? If someone has taken Amrit and are happy that are Japping Naam, then great, but if not, then its sad. The Guru is Great. If the Guru gives GurMantar then he also has given a method for Japping it.

Someone could argue that "okay, Gurbani talks about Swaas Swaas simran and Gurmat Naam, but where is the proof for "Swaas Swaas" simran technique given by some Amrit Sanchaars and not others. Is this an AKJ thing?" As mentioned before, Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh did not invent or find any new Rehit. He simply "revived" the puraatan (old) Maryada of Guru Sahib which had been forgotten by the majority of the Panth and only preserved by a small group of people.
Gurmat Naam is bestowed to the Sikh when one receives Amrit from the Panj Piyaare (5 initiated Sikhs who are the physical representation of the Guru) in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji tells us that the Gurmantar is first whispered into the ear of the seeker:

ਮਨਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ ਭਇਓ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਨਾਸਿਓ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਦੀਓ ਗੁਰ ਕਾਨ ॥੧॥
"My mind was enlightened, and my doubt was dispelled, when the Guru whispered His Mantra into my ears. ||1||
(SGGS - Ang 1302)

ਮਹਾ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਗੁਰ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਬਸਿਓ ਅਚਰਜ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੁਨਿਓ ਰੀ ॥੩॥
"The Guru has implanted the Maha Mantra, the Great Mantra, within my heart, and I have heard the wondrous Naam, the Name of the Lord. ||3||
(SGGS - Ang 384)

Naam is then instilled within the devotee through the Guru (in the form of the Panj Piyaare). Gurbani gives the hints that when a seeker receives Naam from the Guru in the form of the Panj Pyaare then the Panj Pyaare place their hands on the head of seeker and make the devotee repeat Naam:

ਮੇਰੈ ਹੀਅਰੈ ਰਤਨੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹਰਿ ਬਸਿਆ ਗੁਰਿ ਹਾਥੁ ਧਰਿਓ ਮੇਰੈ ਮਾਥਾ ॥
ਜਨਮ ਜਨਮ ਕੇ ਕਿਲਬਿਖ ਦੁਖ ਉਤਰੇ ਗੁਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਦੀਓ ਰਿਨੁ ਲਾਥਾ ॥੧॥
"(When) the Guru placed His hand on my forehead, the Jewel of the Lord's Name came to abide within my heart. (Whoever) the Guru has blesses with Naam, the Name of the Lord, their sins and pains of countless incarnations are cast out and the debt (of sins) is paid off. ||1||"
(SGGS - Ang 696)

ਸਮਰਥ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਿਰਿ ਹਥੁ ਧਰ੍ਯ੍ਯਉ ॥
ਗੁਰਿ ਕੀਨੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਦੀਅਉ ਜਿਸੁ ਦੇਖਿ ਚਰੰਨ ਅਘੰਨ ਹਰ੍ਯ੍ਯਉ ॥
"The All-powerful Guru placed His hand upon my head. The Guru was kind, and blessed me with the Lord's Name. Gazing upon His Feet, my sins were dispelled."
(SGGS - Ang 1300)

ਮੈ ਸੁਖੀ ਹੂੰ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
ਗੁਰਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਵਸਾਇਆ ॥
ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਪੁਰਖਿ ਵਿਖਾਲਿਆ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਧਰਿ ਕੈ ਹਥੁ ਜੀਉ ॥੯॥
"I have obtained the comfort of spiritual comforts. The Guru has implanted the Word of the Shabad deep within me. The True Guru has shown me my Husband Lord when He has placed His Hand upon my forehead. ||9||"

(SGGS - Ang 73)

The above Gurbani quotes are clear that the Guru "places His hand" on the head of the Sikh and awakens Naam. The reality of this is seen in the Amrit Sanchaar when the Panj Pyaare place their hand on the head of the Abhilaakhee (Amrit candidate). However, this tradition has gradually been lost by the majority, and only few groups are left that keep this alive.
Individuals can Japp Naam however they wish, just like a baby can drink its mother's milk however it wishes. The main thing is "quenching the thirst". However, at the same Guru Sahib has given a certain technique for Japping Naam which was passed down from each Guru. From Guru Nanak Dev Ji to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, which was given to all Sikhs that took Amrit (whether it be Charan-Pahul or Khande-Di-Pahul). Then the Guru Khalsa was given the right in 1699 to give Amrit and Naam to Sikhs.

Bhai Chaupa Singh Ji, contemporary of 10th Guru, records the 10th Guru's instruction in his Rehat-Nama (ethical code):

ਗੁਰੂ ਕਾ ਸਿਖ ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਉਚਾਰ ਕਰਦਾ ਰਹੈ ॥
"The Guru's Sikh with each and every breath ('Saas Saas') should keep uttering 'Vaheguru'."
(p. 105, Piara Singh Padam - 'Rehatnamay')

'Rehat-Nama Prem Sumarg' (p. 119, Piara Singh Padam - 'Rehatnamay') mentions the "exact" technique as Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh revived in Amrit Sanchaars which is still kept alive today in Amrit Sanchaars "organised" by Akhand Kirtani Jatha and few other groups in the Panth. The same technique is mentioned in the literature written by Baba Nand Singh Jee (Nanaksar), Baba Ishar Singh Jee (Rara Sahib Wale), Baba Attar Singh Jee (Mastuana Wale) and Bhai Raghbir Singh Bir (panthic scholar). Baba Takhur Singh (Damdami Taksaal) also practiced Swaas Swaas simran in the same method. The "Prem Sumarg" Rehat-Nama quote is evidence that Guru Gobind Singh jee gave "the" technique of Japping Naam to the Sikhs that took Amrit and he is instructing Mata Jeeto Ji to Japp Naam.

Gurbani tells us to do Swaas Swaas simran and then the Guru-Roop Panj Pyaare give you Naam and the Jugtee (method). Naam and Jugtee can only be given by the Guru to his Sikh. No Sikh has the right or authority to give Gurmat Naam to a Sikh. Gurbani is clear; time and time again Gurbani says that Guru gives Naam, Guru awakens Naam, Guru gives Amrit etc.

Naam in the form of Gur-Mantar is given in all Amrit Sanchaars. However, the ways of giving Naam and instilling Naam differ. In Amrit Sanchaars where they give the method of Swaas Swaas simran and also get the Abhilaakhee to japp Naam with each breath through the Panj Pyaare's blessings, the seeker takes a short-cut to the stage of Swaas Swaas simran. For those who are not as fortunate to have the Panj Pyaare blessing one with the gift of japping Naam with each breath should do Ardaas at the Feet of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. There are many examples of rare beloved Gursikhs who have not taken Amrit from an Amrit Sanchaar that didn't give Naam Jugtee (the method of Japping Naam), however through constant Ardaas with heart and soul, the True Guru has been graceful and blessed them with Swaas Swaas simran.

Source: sikhism101

52 commands of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji


1) Earn by honest means.

2) Give one tenth of your salary.

3) Memorize Gurbani.

4) Wake up at Amrit Vela (before dawn).

5) Serve a Sikh Servant with devotion.

6) Learn the meanings of Gurbani from Sikh Scholars.

7) Follow the discipline of the 5 K's strictly.

8) Practice Shabad Gurbani in life.

9) Concentrate on the True Guru (God).

10) Accept the Guru Granth Sahib as Guru.

11) At the beginning of a task, do ardaas.

12) At birth, death, or marriage ceremonies, do Japji Sahib, make Karaah Parshaad, do five stanzas of anand sahib, do ardaas, and then distribute Karaah Parshaad to the Panj Pyare, the Granthi, and then to the sangat.

13) Until Karaah Parshaad is completely distributed, the Sangat should remain sitting and unmoving.

14) Do not start married life without Anand Karaj (Sikh ceremony of marriage).

15) Recognize all other women other than your wife as mothers and sisters. Do not engage in sinful behaviour with them.

16) Do not silence your wife.

17) Abandon the worldly, false tobacco-poison.

18) Keep the company of Sikhs who follow the Rehat and meditate on the Name (of God).

19) Don't be lazy in life.

20) Listen and perform kirtan and Gurbani discourses daily.

21) Do not engage in slander, gossip or spite anyone.

22) Do not take pride in wealth, youth and caste.

23) Keep the religious discipline high and pure.

24) Do not refrain from doing Righteous deeds.

25) Recognize God as the giver of intellect and strength.

26) Do not believe a person who breaks promises.

27) Rule Independently. In the affairs of government, do not give people of other religions authority/power.

28) Study politics.

29) Treat the opponent with respect.

30) Practice the knowledge of weaponry and horse riding.

31) - Study the books and knowledge of other faiths. But keep trust in Gurbani and Akal Purukh.

32) Follow the teachings of the Guru.

33) After Rehras Paatth, do Ardaas standing up.

34) Recite Kirtan Sohila before going to sleep.

35) Wear a turban at all times.

36) Do not call a Singh by half of their name (nickname).

37) Do not partake of alcoholic drinks.

38) Do not give a daughter's hand to a clean shaven. Give her hand in a house where God's Sikhi exists, where the household is not in debt, is of a good nature, is disciplined and knowledgeable.

39) Do all work in accordance with Gurbani.

40) Do not ruin someone's work by gossip.

41) Do not utter bitter statements.

42) Make pilgrimages to Gurudwaras only.

43) Fulfill all promises that are made.

44) Do as much sewa as you can for foreigners, the needy and the troubled.

45) Recognize the property of a daughter as poison – Do not take a daughters wealth.

46) Do not become an outward show-off Sikh.

47) Live as a Keshadhari Sikh.

48) Do not engage in theft, gangs, fraud, and falsity

49) Believe and trust in Gursikhs

50) Do not give false testimony.

51) Do not cheat.

52) Distribute Langar and Karaah Parshaad with equality.


Life without true Sikhi

This Shabad is by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Siree Raag on Pannaa 74

<> siqgur pRswid ]
ik oa(n)kaar sathigur prasaadh ||
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:

isrIrwgu mhlw 1 phry Gru 1 ]
sireeraag mehalaa 1 peharae ghar 1 ||
Siree Raag, First Mehla, Pehray, First House:

pihlY phrY rYix kY vxjwirAw imqRw hukim pieAw grBwis ]
pehilai peharai rain kai vanajaariaa mithraa hukam paeiaa garabhaas ||
In the first watch of the night, O my merchant friend, you were cast into the womb, by the Lord's Command.

aurD qpu AMqir kry vxjwirAw imqRw Ksm syqI Ardwis ]
ouradhh thap a(n)thar karae vanajaariaa mithraa khasam saethee aradhaas ||
Upside-down, within the womb, you performed penance, O my merchant friend, and you prayed to your Lord and Master.

Ksm syqI Ardwis vKwxY aurD iDAwin ilv lwgw ]
khasam saethee aradhaas vakhaanai ouradhh dhhiaan liv laagaa ||
You uttered prayers to your Lord and Master, while upside-down, and you meditated on Him with deep love and affection.

nw mrjwdu AwieAw kil BIqir bwhuiV jwsI nwgw ]
naa marajaadh aaeiaa kal bheethar baahurr jaasee naagaa ||
You came into this Dark Age of Kali Yuga naked, and you shall depart again naked.

jYsI klm vuVI hY msqik qYsI jIAVy pwis ]
jaisee kalam vurree hai masathak thaisee jeearrae paas ||
As God's Pen has written on your forehead, so it shall be with your soul.

khu nwnk pRwxI pihlY phrY hukim pieAw grBwis ]1]
kahu naanak praanee pehilai peharai hukam paeiaa garabhaas ||1||
Says Nanak, in the first watch of the night, by the Hukam of the Lord's Command, you enter into the womb. ||1||

dUjY phrY rYix kY vxjwirAw imqRw ivsir gieAw iDAwnu ]
dhoojai peharai rain kai vanajaariaa mithraa visar gaeiaa dhhiaan ||
In the second watch of the night, O my merchant friend, you have forgotten to meditate.

hQo hiQ ncweIAY vxjwirAw imqRw ijau jsudw Gir kwnu ]
hathho hathh nachaaeeai vanajaariaa mithraa jio jasudhaa ghar kaan ||
From hand to hand, you are passed around, O my merchant friend, like Krishna in the house of Yashoda.

hQo hiQ ncweIAY pRwxI mwq khY suqu myrw ]
hathho hathh nachaaeeai praanee maath kehai suth maeraa ||
From hand to hand, you are passed around, and your mother says, ""This is my son.""

cyiq Acyq mUV mn myry AMiq nhI kCu qyrw ]
chaeth achaeth moorr man maerae a(n)th nehee kashh thaeraa ||
O, my thoughtless and foolish mind, think: In the end, nothing shall be yours.

ijin ric ricAw iqsih n jwxY mn BIqir Dir igAwnu ]
jin rach rachiaa thisehi n jaanai man bheethar dhhar giaan ||
You do not know the One who created the creation. Gather spiritual wisdom within your mind.

khu nwnk pRwxI dUjY phrY ivsir gieAw iDAwnu ]2]
kahu naanak praanee dhoojai peharai visar gaeiaa dhhiaan ||2||
Says Nanak, in the second watch of the night, you have forgotten to meditate. ||2||

qIjY phrY rYix kY vxjwirAw imqRw Dn jobn isau icqu ]
theejai peharai rain kai vanajaariaa mithraa dhhan joban sio chith ||
In the third watch of the night, O my merchant friend, your consciousness is focused on wealth and youth.

hir kw nwmu n cyqhI vxjwirAw imqRw bDw Cutih ijqu ]
har kaa naam n chaethehee vanajaariaa mithraa badhhaa shhuttehi jith ||
You have not remembered the Name of the Lord, O my merchant friend, although it would release you from bondage.

hir kw nwmu n cyqY pRwxI ibklu BieAw sMig mwieAw ]
har kaa naam n chaethai praanee bikal bhaeiaa sa(n)g maaeiaa ||
You do not remember the Name of the Lord, and you become confused by Maya.

Dn isau rqw jobin mqw Aihlw jnmu gvwieAw ]
dhhan sio rathaa joban mathaa ahilaa janam gavaaeiaa ||
Revelling in your riches and intoxicated with youth, you waste your life uselessly.

Drm syqI vwpwru n kIqo krmu n kIqo imqu ]
dhharam saethee vaapaar n keetho karam n keetho mith ||
You have not traded in righteousness and Dharma; you have not made good deeds your friends.

khu nwnk qIjY phrY pRwxI Dn jobn isau icqu ]3]
kahu naanak theejai peharai praanee dhhan joban sio chith ||3||
Says Nanak, in the third watch of the night, your mind is attached to wealth and youth. ||3||

cauQY phrY rYix kY vxjwirAw imqRw lwvI AwieAw Kyqu ]
chouthhai peharai rain kai vanajaariaa mithraa laavee aaeiaa khaeth ||
In the fourth watch of the night, O my merchant friend, the Grim Reaper comes to the field.

jw jim pkiV clwieAw vxjwirAw imqRw iksY n imilAw Byqu ]
jaa jam pakarr chalaaeiaa vanajaariaa mithraa kisai n miliaa bhaeth ||
When the Messenger of Death seizes and dispatches you, O my merchant friend, no one knows the mystery of where you have gone.

Byqu cyqu hir iksY n imilE jw jim pkiV clwieAw ]
bhaeth chaeth har kisai n miliou jaa jam pakarr chalaaeiaa ||
So think of the Lord! No one knows this secret, of when the Messenger of Death will seize you and take you away.

JUTw rudnu hoAw duoAwlY iKn mih BieAw prwieAw ]
jhoot(h)aa rudhan hoaa dhuoaalai khin mehi bhaeiaa paraaeiaa ||
All your weeping and wailing then is false. In an instant, you become a stranger.

sweI vsqu prwpiq hoeI ijsu isau lwieAw hyqu ]
saaee vasath paraapath hoee jis sio laaeiaa haeth ||
You obtain exactly what you have longed for.

khu nwnk pRwxI cauQY phrY lwvI luixAw Kyqu ]4]1]
kahu naanak praanee chouthhai peharai laavee luniaa khaeth ||4||1||
Says Nanak, in the fourth watch of the night, O mortal, the Grim Reaper has harvested your field. ||4||1||

4 Reasons Why You Need To Take Cold Showers!

4 Reasons Why You Need To Take Cold Showers!
By Frederic Premji under Health, Self Help

A friend of mine is 45 years old, has no gray hair, and very good skin for her age. I wanted to find out if there was anything in her routine that could have been a reason for such youthful looks for her age (all without any surgery by the way!). Leaving genetics out of the equation for a moment, the one interesting thing that popped up was the fact that she takes a cold shower every morning. So I did a little research about the subject and found 4 main benefits that you gain by taking cold showers.

Now when I say cold shower, I want to clarify exactly what I mean by that. Taking a full cold shower, meaning no hot or warm or lukewarm water at all, is borderline torture! Especially in the cold winter months (I am from Montreal, and it is VERY cold here!). Besides, there are many benefits to taking a warm shower, the primary one being that it feels really good! But seriously, what I mean in this context, is the practice of starting with a warm shower, and ending the last few minutes with cool to cold water. Here are the benefits that you gain by incorporating a cold shower into your shower routine:

1- Better Circulation
Warm water makes the blood rush to your skin, and cool water makes the blood rush to your organs. This switching between hot and cold triggers better circulation in your blood by forcing the blood to move. The ideal practice would be to switch numerous times between hot and cold water, but merely ending the shower with cold water does help with circulation. Why should you worry about having good circulation? Well, it prevents such problems as hypertension, hardening of the arteries, and the appearance of varicose veins. Good circulation improves the performance of your system and thus help looking and feeling better.

2- Better looking skin
When you shower with warm water, it opens up your pores. Then you wash and this cleans up your pores. That’s all good. When you end, it would be best to close your pores and cold water does just that. It’s good to close your pores after you are all cleaned up because it will prevent the pores from being easily clogged by dirt and oil, which causes skin imperfections such as acne for example. Another benefit is that cold water makes your blood vessels constrict which reduces swelling and the appearance of dark circles under your eyes (where skin is at its thinnest). This provides you with a young, healthy glow.

3- Healthier hair
Cold water makes your hair look healthier and shinier. As a matter of fact, cool air makes your hair shinier too (that’s why there is a cool air button on your hair dryer). What the cold water does is that it closes the cuticle which makes the hair stronger and prevents dirt from easily accumulating within your scalp. Basically, the same principle with how it closes the pores of your skin as mentioned above. Stronger hair, of course, prevents hair from being easily pulled out when you are combing, and it helps in slowing down overall hair loss.

4- Mental benefits
There are plenty of mental benefits to ending your shower with cold water. The ancient samurai warriors used to pour buckets of cold river water on their heads every morning in a Shinto practice called Misogi. This was a purification ritual on a spiritual level. They believe that it cleansed their spirit and helped start a new day & new adventure fresh. Cold water obviously helps waking you up, which is what you want in the morning. Also, it energizes you and invigorates your entire being with the essence of life. Give it a try, you will definitely feel more alive! It can also lift you up if you are feeling a little down or unmotivated.

Ending your shower with cold water clearly has its advantages. Many benefits to cold showers, as you can see. I know this is something that can be very difficult for many people to do. The key is to not torture yourself. Go about it gradually. Start with a level of cold you can deal with, and slowly make it colder after each shower. As long as you get your feet wet (no pun intended!), and begin adding this routine at the end of your showers, you will be on your way to making a habit out of it and enjoy the benefits that this practice can bring you. Who knows, maybe you can avoid gray hair altogether like my friend! Maybe the fountain of youth is made up of very cold water?!

This article was featured in The Fourth Edition of the Carnival of Improving Life


To add to the above is another article on this subject

What to say about cold water ishnaan in the morning. In Toronto the cold water is freezing, even in summer months but the joy and alertness that one gets from doing cold water ishnaan, is beyond words. When one gets up early morning, many times, one feels sleepy but as soon as the body comes under ice cold water, one is forced to utter "Vaaaahe Gurrrrrrrrrrrrooo!!"

It is easier to put cold water in the head and do kesh ishnaan but when the turn is to do the body shower (after keshi ishnaan), then real mazaa comes. One Singh who had started doing cold water ishnaan jokingly said that he remembers Bhai Mati Daas, Bhai Sati Daas and Bhai Dyaala jee before jumping under the cold water shower. He thinks that if they could endure so much on their body, he can surely endure cold water. It was quite funny the way he narrated it.

Here are some more uses and benefits of doing cold water ishnaan:

1) You help the environment? How? You don't use hot water and this saves hydro costs and consumption.

2) You help the environment? How? You use less water and this way contribute to saving fresh natural water. I know people who use hot water waste too much water. In case of ice cold water shower, the issue is of life and death. smiling smiley So one does not bathe leisurely and stand under water for like half an hour. One is out in no time.

3) You save time. How? As explained in point 2 above, you can't just stand under water for more than half a minute. You don't want to freeze. You want to live. So you are out in no time, thereby saving precious amritvela time for Naam Abhyaas.

4) You earn Good Karma. How? If you live in a dwelling where you have to share washroom with other people, you save other peoples' time because you don't leave them waiting for too long. You are out in like 5 minutes. Since you save time for other people, at the precious amritvela time, it means good Karma for you. Good Karma because they can now spend more time in paath and simran. You get dividends of that. smiling smiley

5) You save money? How? By using less water, less hydro and less soap, you save money. Why less soap? Because if you use too much soap, it would take longer to remove it and this would mean you will have to be under water for longer period of time. To avoid this, I use just as much soap as required. I don't play bubble game in washroom like many brothers and sisters are known to be playing. smiling smiley

6) You become healthier. How? When the cold water is poured on the body, the blood rushes in veins so fast that any blockages in the arteries or veins are carried away and cleared. This translates into a healthy body.

7) Your heart becomes strong. How? The heart becomes stronger by enduring ice cold water therapy every morning. It gets this shock everyday. This way it gets stronger. It's a shock it has to endure everyday. So this means that it is better shaped in enduring shocks of life.

Hopefully the above writeup will inspire more Gursikhs to adopt cold water ishnaan in the morning.

Kulbir Singh


Friday, 12 November 2010

Importance of Dietary Bibek

I was reading an article online and it was talking about Langar and how the Akhand Keertani Jatha (AKJ) do Pakhand (false rituals) by not eating for the hands of Non-Amritdharis (non-baptised Sikhs).

This is a debate for which I have been confused and looking long and hard to find the right answer, without following rituals. The main argument from the AKJ is that Amritdharis should prepare Langar only, as they have taken an oath to serve the Guru. How can people who have not taken Amrit, (a minimum requirement) provide Langar for Sikhs?

Now you may be thinking that Sikhism is about equality, therefore not letting non-Sikhs make food, who do simran and Jap Naam whilst making the food is wrong, but I would disagree. Why? Because; people who have not taken Amrit, cannot fully believe in the Sikh way of life and equality. When one gets given Amrit, he/she is re-born into the Khalsa Panth and told that all are equal and that they should eat and drink within the Khalsa Panth only. Most people that prepare Langar, at Gurdwara’s or for house programs commit one of the Four Cardinal Sins (Cut Hair, Fornication/Adultery, Eat Meat, Use intoxication/drugs). Anybody that does not commit any of these, keeps a good Rehit, follows all Sikh teachings, well then my question to them would be; what’s stopping you from giving you’re head to Guru Ji and receiving Amrit? What would Guru Gobind Singh ji think?? Would they want THEIR KHALSA to be fed by those who have not taken Amrit, those who disobey Guru Gobind Singh Ji's orders of not doing the 4 Bujjhar Kurehiets

Yes there are many people out there who do Bibek as a ritual, because they have not understood the meaning, which leads them to thinking they are better then others, therefore defeating the reason why they are doing Bibek in the first place; purity and equality.

Just because someone holds a Sri Akhand Paaht at the Gurdwara Sahib and does a little Simran whilst making Langar, doesn’t mean it is Guru Ka Langar. How can it even be considered Guru Ka Langar if it is not prepared by Guru Ke Sikh? People often say that this is something that the AKJ started and is ‘pakhand’ but forget historical examples of Bibek:

“Sahib Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji has forbidden eating food which makes the body writhe in pain and fill the mind with evil. That is why he refused to accept the most nourishing and dainty dishes prepared in the house of Malik Bhago but preferred the simple dry food prepared by the so-called low-caste carpenter, Bhai Lalo. Similarly, Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji refused to drink water brought by a young man who had never done any service to anyone in his life.”

This shows that people that prepare Langar should be of a high spirituality, humble and kind. It can’t just be anyone who feels like making Langar. What if an atheist said he/she wanted to make food for people at the Gurdwara, because they feel it would be fun. Does this food become Guru Ka Langar if made in a Gurdwara by an atheist? I certainly hope not!

All Dharmik organizations state that an Amritdhari can eat from and with another Amritdhari, some people prefer not to, as they may follow a stricter Rehit than another GurSikh. However for me it seems that surely one should only eat from people with the same values and lifestyle. How can one eat from the hands of someone who does not even believe in WaheGuru? Are Bibeki’s the ones who are being ritualistic, by only eating from fellow Amritdharis, or is the person who is preparing the food at the Gurdwara only because they are holding a Sri Akhand Paaht and will do no form of seva until they do another Sri Akhand Paaht in a years time?

Yes, of course, if one does not know the meaning of why they are keeping Bibek, it can turn into a ritual, for which there is no place within Sikhi. However, we should understand that, as an Amritdhari we should only eat Guru Ka Langar, which has been prepared by Guru Ke Sikh. To me it seems people that want to eat from restaurants; McDonalds, etc. are the people that may be doing the ‘Pakhand’.

From :

What is your Surname?

What is your Surname?

Where is the Singh or Kaur?

I hear this question many a times, "What's your surname?" When I say I am Inderjeet Singh another question comes up "No no, I know you are Inderjeet Singh but what's your surname?" When I say I am Inderjeet Singh stressing "Singh" as my surname I don't get a very good response from the other end. Interestingly this question doesn't come from a Hindu, Christian or a Muslim but from Sikhs.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji refused to wear a Janeo from pandit and talked about equality of all. Guru Amar Das Jee refused to give darshan to a relative who claimed that he is from the same family as Guru Amar Das Ji and therefore should be given preference in the sangat. We are still ignorant about what our Guruji asked us 300+ years ago during the formation of Khalsa. We are still carrying the same names even when Guru Gobind Singh Ji (Not Guru Gobind Singh Rai) asked us to remove the family names. Who will tell us to remove Bedi, Sodhi, Saini, Bindra, Bhatia, Arora, Malhotra, Sahni, Basson, Bal, etc. We proudly say that Sikhism does not believe in the caste system, so why are the words khatri, jatt, sikhligar, chure, saini, ramgaria, pappe still in use? Why are we still carrying the same names?

We are not content with Singh as our Last name. We are so proud of our so called last names that we are known by them. Does it really matter so much? I wonder, have we really cut the bondages of the caste system that our guruji wanted us to? Guruji saw that in order to be united the caste system cannot exist and asked us to be one by calling ourselves Singh/Kaur. Why are we still entangled in the same names when we have clear instruction that we need to remove our caste from our name since we are Sikh?

So let us all take it as a reminder that in order to be one, we need to shed our false caste and last names and be one both by name and heart. Let us all realize and implement what our 10th guru said "Recognize mankind as one". Let us all rise above the narrow thinking and unite together as one family with one name. Let us be recognized by the whole world as a family of Singh and Kaur who believes in one God and the teachings of Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji.

Here are some lines from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee that talks about the significance of ones Name:-

ਕਬੀਰ ਕੂਕਰੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੋ ਮੁਤੀਆ ਮੇਰੋ ਨਾਉ ॥
kabeer kookar raam ko mutheeaa maero naao ||
Kabeer, I am the Akaalpurakh’s dog; Moti is my name.

ਗਲੇ ਹਮਾਰੇ ਜੇਵਰੀ ਜਹ ਖਿੰਚੈ ਤਹ ਜਾਉ ॥74
galae hamaarae jaevaree jeh khi(n)chai theh jaao ||74||
There is a chain around my neck; wherever I am pulled, I go. ||74||


ਜਾਤਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਨਹ ਪੂਛੀਐ ਸਚ ਘਰੁ ਲੇਹੁ ਬਤਾਇ ॥
jaath janam neh pooshheeai sach ghar laehu bathaae ||
God does not ask about social class or birth; you must find your true home

ਸਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਸਾ ਪਤਿ ਹੈ ਜੇਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥
saa jaath saa path hai jaehae karam kamaae ||
That is your social class and that is your status - the karma of what you have done.

ਜਨਮ ਮਰਨ ਦੁਖੁ ਕਾਟੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਨਾਇ ॥410
janam maran dhukh kaatteeai naanak shhoottas naae ||4||10||
The pains of death and rebirth are eradicated; O Nanak, salvation is in Waheguru's Name. ||4||10||

Finally a shabad by Guru Amar Das Ji that says it all:

jwiq kw grbu n kir mUrK gvwrw ]
jaath kaa garab n kar moorakh gavaaraa ||

Do not be proud of your social class and status, you ignorant fool!

iesu grb qy clih bhuqu ivkwrw ]1] rhwau ]
eis garab thae chalehi bahuth vikaaraa ||1|| rehaao ||

So much sin and corruption comes from this pride. ||1||Pause||

Click Here to read the complete shabad and think about it.

If one reads the book
SAHIB-E-KAMAAL Guru Gobind Singh by Lala Daulat Rai (an Arya Samaji) 1901, one would realize that the downfall of Hindus was started because of caste system. It was so entrenched that one sect would feel happy at the downfall of the other. Is the Sikh panth today not in the same boat?

There will be arguments by the dozen about the impracticality of dropping surnames, but we all know when a numerologist suggests that we add another alphabet in our name or spell it differently, we are very keen to oblige and make changes to ALL documents, just in case ………..(the Laxmi mata refuses to come!!). When our Guru Granth Sahib, says something, we, overrule it.

It is time for SIKHS to wake up! The sooner, the better for all.

- From Reading Sikh Youth Associating e-mails....

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Do Not Loose Your Good Virtues !!!!

This Shabad is by Guru Raam Daas Ji in Raag Bairaaree on Pannaa 719

bYrwVI mhlw 4 ]
bairaarree mehalaa 4 ||
Bairaaree, Fourth Mehla:

hir jnu rwm nwm gun gwvY ]
har jan raam naam gun gaavai ||
The Lord's humble servant sings the Glorious Praises of the Lord's Name.

jy koeI inMd kry hir jn kI Apunw gunu n gvwvY ]1] rhwau ]
jae koee ni(n)dh karae har jan kee apunaa gun n gavaavai ||1|| rehaao ||
Even if someone slanders the Lord's humble servant, he does not give up his own goodness. ||1||Pause||

jo ikCu kry su Awpy suAwmI hir Awpy kwr kmwvY ]
jo kishh karae s aapae suaamee har aapae kaar kamaavai ||
Whatever the Lord and Master does, He does by Himself; the Lord Himself does the deeds.

hir Awpy hI miq dyvY suAwmI hir Awpy boil bulwvY ]1]
har aapae hee math dhaevai suaamee har aapae bol bulaavai ||1||
The Lord and Master Himself imparts understanding; the Lord Himself inspires us to speak. ||1||

hir Awpy pMc qqu ibsQwrw ivic DwqU pMc Awip pwvY ]
har aapae pa(n)ch thath bisathhaaraa vich dhhaathoo pa(n)ch aap paavai ||
The Lord Himself directs the evolution of the world of the five elements; He Himself infuses the five senses into it.

jn nwnk siqguru myly Awpy hir Awpy Jgru cukwvY ]2]3]
jan naanak sathigur maelae aapae har aapae jhagar chukaavai ||2||3||
O servant Nanak, the Lord Himself unites us with the True Guru; He Himself resolves the conflicts. ||2||3||