Today I was reading an article on SikhNet that was written by Amandeep Singh on the topic of Yoga and Sikh Dharma. It was quite interesting to read and think about his descriptions of how there used to be connections with Yoga and Sikhi. I know some might think this is "propaganda", since many Sikhs have little understanding of Yoga and think of Yoga as something "against sikhi".
Different things in history have changed how we as Sikhs live and the things that we do. In the video titled "Women and Turbans by Shanti Kaur" she talks about how Sikh women used to wear turbans and possible reasons why this stopped. In the same way in more recent times during the British Rule of India HUGE things were changed. (Our bana, our bani, practices, etc). In those times Sikhs were commonly considered a sect of Hinduism, which caused Sikhs to discontinue and stop any types of things that might be considered Hindu related. If you have been to Hazur Sahib (Nanded, South India) some of these practices have not changed with the rest of India, and you’ll notice that they do some things very different then you are used to.
Another thing which I think has been affected and changed is our bani. During the time of the British rule some of the banis were shortened and cut. For a Sikh, bani is his/her strength, so by taking/changing bani from us it is a way to reduce our "power". Just as keeping our uncut hair gives us more "energy", by cutting your hair you loose this "tool".
My friend Gurujot Singh started a web page about Chaupai Sahib being cut short and some information related to British influence on the Sikhs. He even provides some templates that you can print ot to include the missing part of the bani in your nitnem gutka.
A similar issue is how it has become practice to skip from the 5th pauri of Anand Sahib to the 40th pauri at the end of Gurdwara, as if the whole bani has been completed! This must have been done out of impatience to make things go faster. This is another one of those things that happened during british rule.
In addition to this I have always been frustrated how just about every nitnem I pick up has a different version of the banis. There are so many different versions with all kinds of other bani mixed in. I sometimes wonder what the original bani was?
All these questions and situations make me realize how little we all know about our past, and how so much is being lost.When we forgot our past and stop knowing the history and meaning behind it, that is when things eventually become ritualistic and narrow minded. When I look at our path as Sikhs I see such a beautiful and open path. Yet somehow people find ways to make it into a very dogmatic "religion" instead of an open lifestyle. I think some of this is the result of loosing touch with the heart of being a Sikh.
This reminds me of the state of the world now, how more and more people have become lazy, non-active, and less informed. We get our information from fewer and fewer sources, so it is so easy for those that control the media to control what we know and stay in power. People in this power can then influence people based on their own personal agenda, without necessarily showing the "truth". This is why it is so important to do our own research. Find out different perspectives and sources to try to uncover the whole picture and then decide for yourself.