Monday, April 23, 2007
What does it mean to have faith? To believe in something we can't see? To persevere despite odds and obstacles? To hang on when all seems lost?
Much is said about faith, yet little is understood about it. Everytime anyone says the word faith, we tend to associate it with religion. That is a limited view, for faith operates in all aspects of life. To study we need faith that we won't fail, to drive we need faith in ourselves; faith something which most of the people don't seem to understand today.
We need faith in order to manage our lives. We place our faith in certain laws of nature. We need faith in ourselves and in our abilities, talents and skills. We need faith in our personal relationships, without it we would be adrift in uncertain seas. There is not one aspect of life that does not require faith in order to function at its optimum. When tragedy strikes, when the world turns upside down, it is faith that sees us through. The faith that we will succeed, faith that we can make it through, faith is the reason everyone functions and does what they do.
Faith is the engine that drives our existence. Without faith, we are not motivated to believe anything, do anything, accomplish anything. Once we discover faith, we must continually nourish it. If we do not nourish it and use it daily, it weakens like an unused muscle. Without faith, we begin to fall into doubt, and from doubt we sink into fear. Fear leads to a breakdown of order, and of spirit.
Despite the abundance of personal testimony that faith enables us to work wonders, we don't put faith to its full use. Rather than develop our spiritual muscles through prayer, meditation, right thinking, right living, and dreaming big goals, we wait for catastrophe to strike. Then we beseech God for help, hoping that God will come through quickly, but panicked that our prayers might not work. How foolish! Had we practiced our faith every day, we would know without doubt that every prayer is answered and every step is guided.
Even without catastrophe, we sometimes doubt our faith. We set a goal, and then wonder if we will reach it. Doubt creeps into our minds about our skills and abilities. Every time even the tiniest doubt enters our minds, we erode faith, and thus erode our ability to achieve the heights.
Because of our doubts, we ask for signs of assurance, proof that prayers are answered, that God exists, that God works through humanity, that we can do what we think we can do. We say, "If only I can have a sign, then I will have faith." But if we have faith in the first place, we do not need the signs and proofs. With faith, we know that life itself is an ongoing proof of the covenant of God. We know that we will be provided for. We know that every problem will find a solution. We know that we will succeed. We know that we can work miracles.
We also do not use our full miracle-manifesting potential because it is characteristic of people to let others do their thinking for them. We give our power away. We think that only certain appointed ones, certain mystics or prophets or institutions, can access the power of Spirit. This is erroneous thinking, and it keeps us away from our good, and from realizing our full potential. We all have access to the same substance, the same power from the Source of All Being. We must believe that we do. We must have faith that we do. In so believing, we have what we seek in an instant. - 
1 - 1998 by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
"The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history, Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was. The world around it will forget even faster……The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting." -Milan Kundera
Amritsar Sahib, Punjab (KP) - Sikh organizations worldwide stand united and resolute in protest against the blatant and systematic distortion of Sikh history in elementary and high school history textbooks by the RSS and other Hindu extremist groups. Sikhs along with other minority communities including Christians, Muslims and Jains have become victims of a massive government organized campaign to spread false and distorted information about these minority communities in an attempt to homogenize them into the construct of one religion, one language, one land of Hindus: Hindu, Hindi, Hindustan.
Despite the protests and peaceful pleas from the Sikh community and various other minority groups, the government continues to allow and in fact supports the publishing of this false information about these religious groups.
Just recently the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) published a history on 'Medieval India' to be used in the high school curriculum. In this, Professor Satish Chandra of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi wrote that Guru Tegh Bahadar Ji was a 'looter and a rapist' and that Guru Sahib became a martyr not in the name of the freedom to practice religion but because Chandra claims Guru Sahib 'was a criminal.' When the Sikh minority expressed their grievances with this gross historical fallacy, Chandra defended his work by saying that he used a 'credible Persian source' albeit that this source was written over a century after Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji's Shaheedi. When questioned about the erroneous points that he presented in the text he said that he wanted to provide a 'constructive interpretation of tradition.'
Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi expressed support for Chandra's work despite protests from the Sikh minority. The book is full of numerous other historical fallacies about the Sikh Guru Sahibans with false information saying that Guru Nanak Sahib 'renounced the world', that Guru Gobind Singh Ji was a 'worshipper of Hindu Goddess Chandi' and that Sikhi is 'a part of the Hindu movement.
'Another history textbook titled 'History of Punjab Part II' which is full of historical fallacies and objectionable material about the Sikh Guru Sahibans is now in wide distribution and being implemented in Punjab school curricula. The book makes multiple flagrant distortions of Sikh history calling Baba Budha Ji 'a thief,' and portraying Guru Hargobind Sahib as a person of immoral character. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji is termed as an 'oppressor' while Guru Gobind Singh Ji is presented as a weak hearted person and a worshipper of the Hindu Goddess Durga. Numerous other perversions of history are presented in this book which is being used in the syllabi throughout Punjab and in several other states.
The Sarbat Khalsa Mission issued a referendum calling for a committee to be established to ensure that such historical distortions are not permitted in the future. They also stated that only accurate and approved books with proper scholastic research should be implented into the curricula. They also called for action against Lahore Book Shop, Lajput Rai Market, Ludhiana, the book publishers and made a call to all Sikhs worldwide to boycott their company and to take strict actions against the owners of the publishing firm.
A glimpse of material contained in the books:
Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji And Bhai Bidhi Chand
A Sikh of the Guru was bringing a Turkish horse to Amritsar as a gift for the guru. The officials of the king in Lahore intercepted the Sikh and took the horse into their possession. The officials then presented the horse to the king. Upon seeing the beauty of the horse, the king ordered that the horse be sent to his stables and a fair price be given to the owner of the horse. When the guru came to hear of this incident, he became extremely angered, as he was not able to do anything else. Due to some unknown circumstances, this horse became crippled. The king then proceeded to gift this horse to the kazi of Lahore. The kazi sought treatment of the horse, after which the horse became well once again. Guru decided that he would attempt to purchase this horse from the kazi for 10 thousand rupees. He took possession of the horse from the kazi in Lahore to Amritsar without paying the price. In the meantime, a Sikh of the guru captured a falcon of the king. Also, a woman by the name of Kaulan who was staying in the haveli of the kazi fled with the same Sikh who had captured the falcon of the King. The woman Kaulan was in love with the guru therefore the Sikh helped her flee from the kazi.
Another Quarrel Between The Guru And The King
While living in the jungles, Guru Hargobind Ji brought many people into the Sikh fold. Of the individuals who had become Sikhs there was one who was a famous thief known as Buddha. This thief later on became known as Baba Buddha. The title of Baba was bestowed upon Buddha by the Sikhs of that time. This person by the name of Buddha stole two of the kings most prized horses from the king's stables and presented them to the guru. This incident led the king to become even more angered as he was already quite angered by the deeds of the guru. The king sent a large force of soldiers from Lahore under the command of Kamar Begh and Lal Begh to Amritsar. The army while advancing rapidly crossed the Satluj River.
The Gurus Return To Punjab
Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji returned to Anandpur from Patna. Upon returning, he purchased some land for 500 rupees from Devi Madho the king of Kehloor. On this land, he founded the city of Makhowal, which even to this day exists near the bank of the river Satluj near Kartarpur. The city of Kartarpur was one resting place of Guru Hargobind Ji, which the Sikhs consider as a holy place. After living as an Udhasi in Bengal and then returning to Punjab, it seems as if the Guru (Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji) began a criminal life of killing and looting. He had once again resumed his criminal activities, which he had suspended whilst living as an Udhasi in Bengal. The land between the Satluj River and Jhansi had been completely plundered by Guru Tegh Bahadur.
The Gurus Rebellious Activities
The guru had also joined with Adam Haffaz and when this Muslim began looting and killing fellow Muslims the Guru also followed his lead and began killing his fellow Hindus. Places of worship had become the prime target of the Guru and Haffaz. From the villages they had recruited many armed followers who were paid handsome salaries for their assistance in the lootings and killings. Those that were rebelling against the Mughal Empire were also inducted into the criminal gang of the guru.
The Order Of The Guru
The Sikhs who Guru Gobind Singh had, given the name Khalsa, were ordered to arm themselves, keep their weapons with them at all times, keep knotted and long hairs*, wear blue clothing, never wear red clothes, and never used tobacco. All the restrictions, which had been placed on eating and drinking, were abolished.
*The guru was the follower of the goddess Durga who was the goddess of power. The devi had permitted the guru to open his hair and unsheathe his sword. The guru had vowed to keep his hair uncut in the remembrance of the goddess Durga, he then also gave this command to his Sikhs.
Teachings For His Son GobindGuru
Tegh Bahadur said to his son Gobind "now I am going to become a martyr, son make sure my body is not left to be eaten by crows and dogs." Afterwards he instructed his son to take revenge for his soon to come death and appointed him as his successor. He picked his son up in his arms, kissed him on the forehead, and proceeded to leave for Delhi. These were times when the King had jailed hundreds of Brahmins and had hoped that if Guru Tegh Bahadur would become Muslim, then the rest of the Hindus in jails and otherwise would follow his lead.
The King Asks For A Miracle To Be Performed
The king had a religious debate with Guru Tegh Bahadur numerous times and said that if you are the real Guru then show some miracle otherwise adopt the Islamic faith. When the Guru said no to both options given by the king he was sent to prison. The guru has asked numerous times to become a Muslim but he declined their request every time. For this disobedience, they began to torture the guru. Not being able to take this torture any longer, the Guru declared that he will show a miracle and will provide proof that his path is true.
A Unique Scheme
He was presented before the King, on this occasion all the Kings employees were present to witness the miracle. Addressing the gathering the Guru Ji said that a man's religion is to remember God but since the King has ordered him to show some miracle he shall obey these orders. Then Guru Ji proceeded to write some words on a piece of paper thaveeth which he then tied around his neck. He then exclaimed that no sword could cut his neck due to what he had written on that paper. Now the executioner was called so that this miracle may be tested. When the executioner swung his sword and hit the Gurus neck, the guru's head separated from his body and landed on the ground. Seeing this onlookers were surprised. Then the papers was taken from the guru neck and read, the paper had the following written on it, "ਸਿਰ ਦੀਆ ਸਰ ਨ ਦੀਆ" ** meaning that he had given his head but not revealed his secret. The guru did not longer physically exist but his holy deed stayed forever. All were surprised to see this incident take place; the king himself became saddened and in anger ordered all to leave. Even though, this is the tale that the lovers of miracles have narrated; it is most likely that the guru was declared a rebel and executed.
(** Eds. Note: The above is a serious distortion of Gurbani, the actual verse is : ਸੀਸ ਦੀਆ ਪਰ ਸਿਰਰੁ ਨ ਦੀਆ ॥) - 
1 - panthic.org/news/126/article/2532/2006-06-11.html
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Contemporary and Original records
At very young age Baba Banda Singh who previously was Lachman Dev had a life altering experience. This occurred after he killed the female deer that he was hunting. On closer inspection of his kill, Lachman Dev noticed that this deer was pregnant. He became very saddened and realized the great sins that he has been committing. Consequently Lachman Das left his house and joined a group of Hindu saints. One of the Hindu saints changed Lachman Das’s name to Madho Das. He spent many years in meditation with these Hindu saints. Later he met Guru Gobind Singh Ji, after this encounter he gave up his Hindu way of life and adopted the Sikh faith. He was given Amrit by Guru Gobind Singh Ji and his name was changed to Banda Singh. Guru Ji gave his weapons to Banda Singh and ordered him to go to Punjab and establish Khalsa Raj while obtaining justice for all regardless of their faith.
Baba Banda Singh upon reaching Punjab punished Suba Sarhind Wazir Khan, who ordered the brutal heartless execution of Guru Sahib’s youngest sons. Baba Ji went on to conquer Sarhind with his mighty Khalsa Army. He was not only the first Sikh but the first human being ever to take over Sarhind. Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India nine times but not once did he ever dare to attack Sarhind. The Fort of Sarhind was considered “invincible” due to having “unbreakable” walls. Baba Banda Singh was the first Sikh to established Khalsa Raj (Sikh rule) in Punjab. He minted currency in the name of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Even the Pathans started requesting him that they be enlisted in the Sikh army. People of other areas would write to Banda Singh pleading with him to invade and take over their areas, as they had heard that all person regardless their caste, creed or color felt the glow of freedom under Khalsa Raj (Sikh Rule). Khalsa Raj was welcomed by all.
After eight years of rule and seven months of war Baba Banda Singh was captured alive along with 200 Sikhs. After seven months of battle only 200 Sikhs were captured. The Mughal army considered this a big embarrassment as a small force had not only gained victory over one of their strongest holdouts but fought and held back the complete might of the imperial army for 7 months. Consequently the order was given that all Sikhs be hunted down and killed. Mughal forces began a campaign of arresting and killing every Sikh that they could find. About 35,000 Sikhs were killed during this period and their heads were loaded on the carts headed to Delhi. Two thousand heads of Sikh men, young and old were hung on spears and 700 Sikhs were kept alive. This march of death went to its final destination of Delhi. Leaders of the Mughal Empire ordered that 100 Sikhs should be beheaded daily. Baba Banda Singh’s son’s heart was taken out, which the cruel butchers tried to force into the mouth of Baba Bandha Singh. Not being able to accomplish this horrendous act of savagery they threw his son’s guts all over him, in a futile attempt to break his Sikhi Spirit at last, his turn came and he was martyred in a very cruel manner. For his unparalleled feats of bravery people gave him the title of “Bahadur” or brave. Today Sikhs proudly and respectfully refer to their hero as Baba Bandha Singh Ji “Bahadur”. 
1 - ww.sikhiwiki.org/index.php?title=Sikhi_%26_RSS