Today, what is shocking in our Gurdwara practices? How many unSikh procedures can be noted? And what is this new trend of group chanting?

At present, so much importance is placed on the gurdwara structure and decorations. Millions are spent on the palki, the carpets, air conditioning and other facilities. But do the attendees use these for spiritual fulfilment?

Or they busy with the flowers, the langgar and the rumalas? Can the never-ending reading by the paid sewadars for various types of paths be of benefit?

(SGGS 1245 Raag Sarang M : 1)

ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਾ ਜੀਵਿਆ ਜਿ ਲਿਖਿ ਲਿਖਿ ਵੇਚਹਿ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਖੇਤੀ ਜਿਨ ਕੀ ਉਜੜੈ ਖਲਵਾੜੇ ਕਿਆ ਥਾਉ ॥

Dhhrig Thinaa Kaa Jeeviaa J Likh Likh Vaechehi Naao ||

Khaethee Jin Kee Oujarrai Khalavaarrae Kiaa Thhaao ||

Cursed are the lives of those who read and write the Lord’s Name to sell it. Their crop is devastated – what harvest will they have?

Hinduism has not only crept into our culture but our religion too. Some historical gurdwaras and even some of the Takhts are almost copies of Hindu mandirs with the deevas, garlands and now even artees (lamps) and animal sacrifice! Sikhs in India have great difficulty shaking off the Hindu majority influence. Couple that with the atrocious politics of Punjab and what are we left with? ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Granthis now represent the pujaris (Hindu priests) who have absolute control of all religious ceremonies. They are indispensable. The bogus priesthood in various guises has embroiled ill-informed people in bipreet (rituals and superstitions) despite Gurbani having warned us about such useless practices.

(SGGS 674 Raag Thanasree M : 5)

ਜਾਪ ਤਾਪ ਭ੍ਰਮਨ ਬਸੁਧਾ ਕਰਿ ਉਰਧ ਤਾਪ ਲੈ ਗੈਨ ॥

ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਨਹ ਪਤੀਆਨੋ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਜੈਨ ॥੨॥

Jaap Thaap Bhraman Basudhhaa Kar Ouradhh Thaap Lai Gain ||

Eih Bidhh Neh Patheeaano Thaakur Jog Jugath Kar Jain ||2||

Chanting, deep meditation and penance, wandering over the face of the earth, the performance of austerities with the arms stretched up to the sky

– the Lord is not pleased by any of these means, though one may follow the path of Yogis and Jains. ||2||

Imported Gianis and derawaad babas (minus authentic Sikhi gian) are adding on to our dilemma by misguiding many ignorant Sikhs.  Rings a bell, doesn’t it, when you pause and reflect on the local scene? Any baba with dubious qualification of tutelage under ‘waddey baba’ is ‘invited’ but genuine scholars and intellectuals are ‘banned?’ Does the outward attire of a long chola (loose shirt) and gol (round) turban validate piety and wisdom?

(SGGS 738 Raag Suhi M : 5 )

ਭੇਖ ਦਿਖਾਵੈ ਸਚੁ ਨ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥

Bhaekh Dhikhaavai Sach N Kamaavai ||

He wears religious robes, but he does not practice Truth.

Then there are pakhandi (imposter) Sikhs with the agenda to insult Sikh tradition or make it a part of Hinduism. The Sikh factions threatening physical violence against each other seem to be blissfully unaware of the distortion of Sikh history by official historians.

(SGGS 461 Raag Asa M : 5)

ਖੋਟੁ ਨ ਕੀਚਈ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਪਰਖਣਹਾਰਾ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਕਪਟੁ ਕਮਾਵਦੜੇ ਜਨਮਹਿ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥

Khott N Keechee Prabh Parakhanehaaraa ||

Koorr Kapatt Kamaavadharrae Janamehi Sansaaraa ||

Do not practice deception – God is the Assayer of all.

Those who practice falsehood and deceit are scorned in the world.

Our ancestors were picking up the pieces of life left behind in their homeland and were not as informed as we are now. Today things are different.  So the question now is, are we going to let it be or are we going to raise our voice like Guru Nanak Sahib ji did and make a change? 

It is written in Gurbani how Guru Nanak Sahib ji spoke up bravely against the tyranny of the cruel Babar, the invader from Kabul who was terrorising the land.

(SGGS 723 Raag Tilang M :1)

ਸਚ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖੈ ਸਚੁ ਸੁਣਾਇਸੀ ਸਚ ਕੀ ਬੇਲਾ ॥੨॥੩॥੫॥

Sach Kee Baanee Naanak Aakhai Sach Sunaaeisee Sach Kee Baelaa ||2||3||5||

Nanak speaks the Word of Truth; he proclaims the Truth at this, the right time.

We have to remind ourselves that a stand not taken or one taken too late or taken after the event is to fail Sikhi and fail our Guru. 

(SGGS 1330 Raag Parbhati M : 1)

ਮਸਟਿ ਕਰਉ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਜਗਿ ਕਹੀਆ ॥ ਅਧਿਕ ਬਕਉ ਤੇਰੀ ਲਿਵ ਰਹੀਆ ॥

Masatt Karo Moorakh Jag Keheeaa ||

Adhhik Bako Thaeree Liv Reheeaa ||

If I remain silent, the world calls me a fool.

If I talk too much, I miss out on Your Love.

Does not it strike us that many sakhis, (stories) that not only extoll far- fetched miracles but are also in the mould of Vedantic mythology, are overshadowing the real message in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji?

Should we become devotees who follow blindly in bhed chal fashion, like sheep, and do as we are told in the belief that this is the spiritual path, having lost all our own intellect and independence?

(SGGS 80 Sri Raag M : 5)

ਦੁਤੀਆ ਭਾਉ ਬਿਪਰੀਤਿ ਅਨੀਤਿ ਦਾਸਾ ਨਹ ਭਾਵਏ ਜੀਉ ॥

Dhutheeaa Bhaao Bipareeth Aneeth Dhaasaa Neh Bhaaveae Jeeo ||

The love of duality, this evil practice, this bad habit, is not liked by the Lord’s slaves.

I am sure each one of us can evaluate how we have fared in our own religious duties.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Can we enumerate all the practices that don’t belong to us? Although every culture may absorb some values from other cultures, but surely not at the expense of our own?  Isn’t it time to be alert?

If we lose our Sikh heritage and our identity, blame none but ourselves!

By assuming the role of the silent majority, are we not equally to be blamed as are the transgressors?

It is common knowledge that there are Sikh clergy and laymen who are already entrenched into Hinduism and are equally determined to spread their net in the global Sikh diaspora. This group is infamously camouflaging behind questionable names, scripts and organisations.

Gurbani challenges us to use our God-given faculty of Akal (intellect).

Then why aren’t we Sikhs speaking up against the adulteration and transgression by these people who are splitting us?

We have no excuse.  It’s either we make a change or lose what we have.   My dear brothers and sisters, what is your verdict?  Are we Sikhs or are we kesadhari (keeping hair intact) Hindus?  The choice is ours. As one voice alone, I am helpless.  But together we can put things right. So where do we stand?

(SGGS 980 Raag Nat Parhtaal M : 5)

ਕੋਊ ਹੈ ਮੇਰੋ ਸਾਜਨੁ ਮੀਤੁ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੁਨਾਵੈ ਨੀਤ ॥

Kooo Hai Maero Saajan Meeth || Har Naam Sunaavai Neeth ||

Is there any friend or companion of mine,

Who will constantly share the Lord’s Name with me?

The clarion call is for Sikhs to stand and speak up against all bipreet practices and to speak it in a timely fashion in the examples set during the life times of all our Gurus.  

(SGGS 62 Sri Raag M : 1)

ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ ॥੫॥

Sachahu Ourai Sabh Ko Oupar Sach Aachaar ||5||

Truth is higher than everything; but higher still is truthful living. ||5||

And that my friends, is Guru Nanak Sahib ji speaking to each one of His Sikhs!