I have often thought about the Siri Akal Takhat Sahib and the role which it must have played for the Sikh Panth during the time of the Gurus. I then look at the state of the Sikh community these days and wonder how this has changed. The world is a very different place now with Sikhs spread all over and very different issues.
I often hear frustration and disappointment in relation to SGPC and those involved in the management of the Gurdwaras in India. There is a feeling of lack of leadership, corruption, over politicization of Sikhi, practices which are counter to Sikh belief, etc etc. I remember when the issue of women doing seva/kirtan in Harimandir Sahib came up or issues related to people with physical disabilities. Whenever issues like this come up it seems so political, and quite often doesn’t reflect the higher values that the Sikh lifestyle stands for. When people in these positions don’t show true spiritual leadership and get caught up in petty politics it takes away my confidence in the structures as a source of leadership.
I often hear people quoting a Hukamnama issued from the Akal Takhat and others talking about it coming from the "Supreme Authority of the Sikhs". While I consider the Akal Takhat to be the enternal throne of the Sikhs I do question how these so called orders are made and who controls this. Just because someone says an order is from "THE" Akal Takhat I don’t consider the Jathedhar or a few Sikhs in Amritsar as the "Supreme Authority" to me as a Sikh. The Siri Guru Granth Sahib is my supreme authority, so how does the will of a few Sikhs become the voice of the Akal Takhat and therefore the "Supreme Authority" to me as a Sikh in America and everyone?
The management and control of Sikh related affairs has become so political that much of the spiritual parts that I relate to seem to be lost in the wind. I rarely see any true leadership. I don’t feel that the actions of many of the so called leadership in India reflect the will of the Sikhs as a whole.
I often cringe when I hear things like "High priest/clergy" and Christian type references which make Sikhi out to to be like a hierarchical structure. So when management at the SGPC declare something I take it with a grain of salt. We all have a direct connection with our Guru and are not ruled by any particular individuals in Punjab. I personally don’t relate to much of the actions taken by so called Sikh leadership in Punjab and choose to do what I feel is right and in line with Sikh beliefs. I think we all need to look at what is going on and not blindly follow things "just because" someone said so. I try to always remember the essence of the Sikh lifestyle and see each person as a part of God…a part of me, and me a part of them.
While searching online I found an interesting article written a few years back on these same issues. The article is titled "The Crisis of Akal Takht Sahib" and brings up some very interesting points that I never knew about. The writer asks some similar questions and details some of the background in relation to the Akal Takhat and actions from the past.
I am curious to know what other people think about all this? Particularly related to decisions or "orders" that are made supposedly for all Sikhs every where in the world. I think often times people don’t express what they are thinking in fear that they will be criticized or called "blasphemous" for going against something like this.
As always, please keep any comments neutral and calm so we can share with each other in a positive way.
This is Guruka Singh – I’m going to append my comments here to the post above…
Take a look at what’s happening in the Catholic Church right now. Evidence is fast coming to light that Pope Benedict failed to deal effectively with scores of pedophile priests in Europe and America who abused hundreds of young boys over many years, and even allowed these priests to continue working with children. What we are witnessing is the collapse of Piscean religious structures that are based on hierarchy, secrecy and command and control. This includes ALL religions that have such a structure. The Aquarian energy is transparent, clear and empowering. It does not relate to fixed leaders who are given titles and positions by some earthly "authority." It recognizes leadership as arising in each moment and in many people, often unexpectedly, at exactly the time and place that is required. The reason why the Sikh Dharam is eternal is just that. It recognizes the sovereignty of each individual and the fact that there are NO MIDDLEMEN. We each are embodiments of the supreme consciousness. We honor each other. We recognize leadership in each other. We learn from each other and we teach each other because we are all equally the Guru’s voice (though we may not always be listening well ;-) Structures based on secrecy, power and control cannot and will not survive this transition. They will fall away from the tree of the Dharam like dead branches. Let us look to the green sprouts and the young saplings. The roots of the tree are fine. The problem is that people are focusing on the dead branches rather than the new growth.
Waheguru! Nanak Naam Cherdi Kala, Tere Bani Sarbhat da Bhalla.