Tuesday, 27 November 2007
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
Mankind throughout the ages has helped one another to go through problems and difficulties without accepting anything in return. It is one of the reasons we are here today.
What is sewa? It is the selfless service of others without expecting anything in return and to put the needs of others before yourself. Our Guru’s have made it one of the fundamental basis of Sikhi.
Three quotes from Guru Granth Sahibji Maharaj signifying the importance of sewa:
Do seva, selfless service, for the Holy Saints, and the noose of Death shall be cut away. 1
SGGSji pg 24 line 7
Whoever has good destiny inscribed on his forehead, applies himself to seva - selfless service.
SGGSji pg 1142 line 4
you shall find peace, doing seva (selfless service).
SGGSji pg 25 line 19
We have a great opportunity to do sewa, we can do it at home for or family, our parents, this often gets overlooked and confused with work, so we tend to avoid sewa in the home as its far easier and more fun to watch Prison Break on TV then it is to throw out the rubbish. We can do sewa for or community in the Gurdwara, we can do other types of sewa too for example helping old people cross the road or volunteering for charity work which benefits others.
Although we have the opportunity to do sewa everyday why don’t we do it? Is it because we don’t have the time, and sewa can be like doing work, for doing work we expect money which is a tangible reward so we would rather do work for money then sewa for seemingly no money.
The mindset one should have when doing sewa is the want for nothing, absolutely nothing in return, that includes going to wash dishes at the Gurdwara with the mindset that you want to win the lottery… ‘God, I will wash 6 dishes today if you give me the 6 numbers, wink wink’!
Bhai Khanaya Singh giving water to a moghul soldier, an example of selfless service.
If you do sewa and want nothing then your guru will have to give you something, what guru will give you is something far more valuable then the material things we ask for, guru will give you what you need the most but you may not even realise it because you are too busy wanting the winning lottery ticket.
We all need to be better Sikhs and unconditionally help our fellow man in whatever way we can.
Some further reading:
Friday, 7 September 2007
Why is that it is a common site that we see older males from about 35 plus with over developed tidd’s? I mean we are supposed to be quite healthy having mainly a vegetarian diet which should be low in saturated fats. How wrong we are.
- 25 percent of heart attacks in indian males are below the age of 25
- being an indian puts indians at a higher risk
- BHF statistics show that the death rate from coronary heart disease is 46% higher in South Asian men than the UK population as a whole, for women it is 51% higher.
Lets look at a typical punjabi dinner:
3 rotis with butter
1 daal cooked with ghee
1 veg cooked with ghee
Raita or dhai
Pickle in oil
2/3 Gulab jamans
get rid of the desert, butter and ghee and we have quite a nutritious meal, but how many Punjabis will ever eat the above meal with out it? very few I think.
Lets explore, where did it all start…..
….Once upon a time in a small village in the north of India there were two neighbours, one was a builder the other was a farmer, every morning both the builder and the farmers wives got up before dawn to start a fire for the cooking of their husbands breakfast and fetch water from the well. The husbands got up soon after and went to the river for the morning bath.
After doing there paat (these were good Mr Singh’s) they had their breakfast of Parotas and yogurt with fresh makhani (fresh butter) washed down with a glass of butter milk. The two neighbours then walked together to work. For the farmer work consisted of ploughing the fields manually, sowing seeds manually and looking after the young crop. For the builder work consisted of chopping and shaping wood, creating structures out of clay and brick and general hard grafting.
While this was going on the women were tending to their flock of children, as Punjabi males are quite virile, and also preparing the lunch for their husbands which consisted of saron da saag and maki do roti (spinach with corn flour roti’s).
At half way during the day the wife of the farmer and the wife of the builder would carry the bundles of food on their heads to where the husbands worked. The husbands would eat their fill and wash it down with some butter milk and continue with the days work as the wives returned to home to prepare the next meal. Which consisted of the seasonal vegetable curry and rotis with kheer (rice pudding) all served up with ghee and some hot butter milk.
This was the routine everyday, long hours of physical work which was made possible because of the wives commitment to their husbands and the preparation of high energy foods….
So what seems to have happened is that our method of earning a $ has changed but our food tastes and foods haven’t changed to reflect our lifestyles. Now the farmer’s great grand son works for an IT firm in the US of A and the great grand son of the builder is an accountant in Canada. But the genetic taste is still there for high energy foods which contain lots of fat or sugar or a combination of both.
So what’s happening?
Well the visuals are obvious, the big fat tidd amongst other things. But the real damage is going on in the inside. Indians have the highest risk of heart disease then any other group, we are prone to diabetes, blood pressure, dysfunction of the liver and all sort.
On paper we should be the fittest of all races, with a vegetarian lifestyle, our heritage with yoga, our disregard for opulence. But in reality we are slowly killing our selves. Some of it is hereditary, genetic, we have a tendency to coat our arteries with cholesterol with great efficiency.
So how do I know if I am at risk?
There are some signs… you see your hand, is it brown? Yes? You are at risk. While standing, you can’t see your feet as you look down because of your protruding belly? You are at risk.
There are official guidelines, if you as an Asian male measure the largest part of waist and its over 35 inches and you are older then 25 you have an increased risk of becoming diabetic. You are also at greater risk of having heart related problems later in life. For women this figure is 31 inches around the widest part.
What to do?
Oh my god im going to die!! If that’s what you are thinking then good, yes we all go one day but do you want to go while you still have lots to achieve, see and do lying on a hospital bed because you basically killed yourself due to your love of tasty food??
Get active, do something everyday and enjoy it, 30 minutes of moderate exercise is all it takes. It might be hard to go all out in one go but introduce exercise into your daily routine, It could be a brisk walk, swimming, weights, cycling, playing football etc. There are so many things you can do that are fun but are really exercise, for example the Nintendo wii, which has games like tennis which will get you up and active.
Once you start seeing the weight come off you will be more inclined to do more and want to push harder and become fitter, maybe challenge yourself to do a marathon or two?!
Revolutionise the food we eat.
If you cook for yourself, look at what you are eating cut off the bad things like sugar, fat and salt and boost your protein and fibre. Control your carbohydrate intake too as carbs are high in calories, more then protein but fill you up less so weight for weight you will eat more carbs then you would protein.
Stop deep frying your food, bake or boil where possible, samosa’s can be baked. Did you know that, light spray of 1 Cal oil and that’s it bake away, you get the taste with out the impending death.
Over all be conscious about what you eat, you are what you eat as they say and it’s very true.
Guradwara’s and langar.
Guru ka langar (free kitchen) has been an ingenious conception started by Guru Nanak Devji and integrated as part of the Gurdwara tradition by Guru Amar Dasji the third guru.
These days you can go into most gurdwaras in England and have a fantastic vegetarian meal at almost any time of the day which will better any Indian restaurant. You get a daal or two, a few subji’s, rotis or paronta in the morning and a desert, Great.
But we need to start incorporating healthy options into Langar and reduce the ghee, fats and oils used so that out community become healthy. If you have influence or can speak to people who will listen then make suggestions. If you have already implemented or know gurdwaras that are doing this let us know.
We have plenty Guradwaras who have parotas in the morning, pakora on the afternoon, chips for kids days, jelebies and ladoos for special occasions. Let is try and make this the exception not the norm. its not the gurdwaras fault, this is what the ladies doing sewa know how to make and this is what the sangat want.
A small investment of time and some thought over what we are putting into out own and children’s bodies and we can be fitter and active for longer.
So lets stop our taste buds killing us and make the effort to get fit.
I'm off all this talk of food is making me hungry!
More info here:
Monday, 20 August 2007
The funniest is when you see a singh with a full dhari (beard) with his joori sitting up on his head like a surprised pigeon with the flappy bits at the back spread out over his shoulders like aeroplane wings!! I mean what it going on?
These guys need to be renamed S.A.P’s which stands for Stoopid Application of Patka!
The only excuse to wear a patka (I like to call them ‘fatkay’, as it sounds stupid as well as looking stupid!) are the following:
you are going to the gym
you are at the gym
you are coming home from the gym
Or any other activity such as sports where a dastar would be too uncomfortable!
“Imagine the scene: its 1740, the hindus and Sikhs are facing persecution, the residents of a village are going to be attacked, they have no hope of defending themselves from the approaching moghul army. They do what they can to get a message to the remaining sikh army, their only hope.
As the day of the attack gets closer the men of the village lock up the women and gather what weapons they have, knowing that taking one or two moguls down with them is all they can hope for! They see the dust cloud rise as the enemy approaches; they brace themselves for a short but hard fought battle! Where are the Sikhs, did they not get the message, maybe the messenger was killed?
But wait what’s that, it looks like people, men, they are armed, I can see blue and saffron, it’s the Sikhs!! At last! We now stand a chance, think the villagers! They are overjoyed! The Sikhs approach closer, their long flowing beards blowing gently in the breeze, there huge horses towering the men as high as the sky, weapons glistening, chiming, ringing the pre war battle! But whats this? Somethings not right! Where are their majestic dastars, the crowns of the gurus lions?? They been replaced by FLAPPY FATKAY!!!! Ah man! These huge soldiers ready to do battle with big diamond shaped jooras and flappy fatkay!! the villagers including the women think sod this and beat up the singhs!”
Stop and think! Visualise the scene.
Its wrong in many ways I know. Yes, I would much rather the singhs of today keep there un-cut hair and wear a fatka then have a ‘short back and sides’. But going to the gurdwara and weddings etc with a flappy fatka is just taking it too far!
And the joora on the back of the head is just wrong too, yes again for sports its understandable, but for your hair to be worn like that everyday-to pretend that you haven’t got a joora is just silly! The blonde down the road wont think you’re cool, she’ll just be thinking that you got some sort of strange elongated head!
The guru gave us this image as a reflection of himself, and whenever we can, we must do our duty to represent our guru. Not just visually but, in our action and mannerism we must do as our guru would in all situations, or at least try. Be proud of who you are and your heritage, many people died for you to have the right to wear a dastar and follow the gurus teachings, don’t let that be in vain.
It seems that the future generation of singhs will not be able to tie dastars as there will be fewer singhs to teach them. If you the reader cant tie a dastar, the next time you go to the gurdwara and see someone wearing a dastar you like the look of, just ask them how to tie it and if they will show you, they will never refuse as it will be very flattering of you to ask them.
A dastar/pug/turban shouldn’t take more then 3 minutes to tie, and once tied is one of the most comfortable things you can wear, if yours hurts or is uncomfortable something’s wrong and maybe you are sacrificing form for style.
Come on guys, stop flapping about and tie a dastar! Do it for yourself and do it for your guru!
Wednesday, 15 August 2007
We as human beings find it such a natural thing to go into hate mode rather then try to understand the person or the situation. This then manifests itself in ill feelings and fighting. Another inspirational Fakir once said fear leads to anger and anger leads to hatred and this is the way to the dark side- his name was Yoda.
I mean if we look at a classic example of Skinheads hating coloured people, these guys have probably never actually sat down and spoke to an asain or black person, if they did they may find they have many things in common, they might like going to the pub, watching football, beating up small people, tax dodging etc. so we can see ignorance leads to hate. If the effort was made to find out where the victim of hate is coming from then there would be no reason to hate.
In Sikhi the key is love! We must love all humans, love god , love and respect all things as Gods creation. If we all adopted this philosophy there would be no need for fighting and wars.
I have seen on so many occasions hatred amongst the Sikhs, farmers hating carpenters, nirmalas hating mainstream Sikhs, all Sikhs hating the SGPC and the AKJ seeming to hate everyone! Come on guys what is this, how can you be truly following the path of the guru when you are not listening to his true message!? Love and respect each other, people of other faiths and people of no faith… in short love all!
We as gursikhs must make the conscious effort to educate our selves of this message and try and change our ways, then we can start our passage to spiritual enlightenment and our quest to merge into the Formless.
Friday, 10 August 2007
Definition: one you systematically chews their own moustache to prevent the moustache from getting too long.
Why: Apparently a longer moustache may get in the way of eating large foods which are difficult to place in the mouth without disturbing the moustache. This may include foods such as profiteroles and some ice cream, normally the 99 bought from the ice cream van. It may also prove to be an irritation to members of the opposite sex in various questionable circumstances…
Who? Some Singh’s who are so super trendy and slick that if they were a tv character they would definitely be the Fonz from Happy Days! These guys can be spotted hanging out in various locations such as in bars and clubs with their non dastar wearing buddies, awkwardly sipping their orange juice or if they are feeling a little adventurous…. Redbull in the corner! Although they are commonly spotted hanging around outside Gurdwara’s chatting to their fellow Mooch Munchers. Although they are not thought to be found in packs, but integrated with their fellow humans.
How to spot a Mooch Muncher?
Firstly look for the super styled dastar, it will look like every fold has been carefully prepared by the hands of small angels, and they will be wearing snug manly-esque jeans and a rather tight top to extenuate the muscles which have been worked out on with the dumbbells five minutes prior to leaving home!
Secondly, the dhari (beard), you will have seen nothing like it, it will be uncut, tied up and flattened so close to the skin it will look as though it has been painted on. Every hair will be coated with the finest product (shockwaves ultra strong!) so that not a single hair protrudes from the rest of the beard, some of the hardiest may secretly carry products concealed on their person.
Thirdly, the mooch! An unshorn moustache which has a rather curious neat edge above the upper lip. If the mooch is cut with scissors it will be evident as the neat cut will be viewable to all. But by biting or chewing the ends rather then cutting, certain shabbiness is retained so to the untrained eye it looks as though the moustache has never been cut!
Seriously! Come on guys who are you trying to kid, the only idiot is you! Our guru sees everything, you didn’t keep your long beautiful hair, your manly fuzz on your back and shoulders to let yourself down by ‘chewing’ your moustache off. Its really obvious and really disappointing. Our guru didn’t forbid us to ‘cut’ our hair but to remove it. So stop doing it, its wrong and we can see it.
For those with an addiction to mooch munching try dried straw or grass as an alternative, or an old woolly jumper or something!
If you know someone who is partaking in this foolish activity point it out to them and encourage them to stop, together with your help we can stop this tomfoolery and rid our brothers of this diabolical of acts!
Remember God is watching you, we are watching you, we all know…we can see… we can see you now… we are watching… we want to see your moocha grow from today….. so stop munching!
I used to think that god was alright, kind of cool, making all the universe and everything, he must be really strong and BIG and a rather clever fellow to do all that, I mean imagine designing the whole human body and mind then making it function! I cant even figure out my car engine yet.
This is what i thought until I started doing a bit of reading and discussing of Baani, that just blew me clean out of the water, it showed me that whatever limit i had set in my mind for Akaal Purukh, he was so much more, and when i tried to box in what god is, i couldn't, you cant, nobody can.
Its like imagining counting to infinity, you cant (accept for Chuck Norris who has done it twice incidentally!) Nirankaar is beyond human comprehension.
So what is god? What do you see when you think of him? Is he like a human, a light, energy, a solar system? well, i think he is all of the above and so much more that our dopey brains cant even start to fathom.
So remember God is amazing..... Waheguru!
(we shall have further discussions on god later, I'm sure. by the way when i refer to god as 'he', im not implying he's a male, that is a constraint for lifeforms and god isn't that, it just makes writing easier for me)