Do you ever wonder where Sikhi is going these days?

I look around at my fellow Sikhs and see less and less people living the Sikh Lifestyle. On one side I see many who were brought up in a Sikh family but don’t really seem to have any real relationship with what it means to be a Sikh. Maybe they go to Gurdwara from time to time, but that is the extent of it. On the other hand there are the “Gursikhs” who on the surface look like Sikhs but seem so narrow-minded and disconnected with the teachings of the Gurus. They are quick to criticize you and tell you what is right and wrong according to their understanding of Sikhi. It’s as if they are trying to prove that they are better people.

I always have thought of the Sikh way of life as a “lifestyle� and not a rigid religion. The Gurus taught about openness and acceptance and not getting caught up in rituals. So much of what we do as Sikhs has lost it’s meaning to many and it has become a blind ritual. Everything becomes black and white…rather than being open-minded and looking deeper into the meaning of things. Living as a Sikh to me is not about “X� rules that you have to follow. People get so into black and white rules, which in the end can divide and separate rather than include and unify. If you do “X� than you are bad, or are not a Sikh. How about getting “Ex-communicated�? I laugh when I hear stuff like this. It is between a Sikh and his Guru not someone else to define who is a Sikh and who cannot be a Sikh.

When you look at some of the fundamentals of Sikhism (like equality of gender)…I always hear the lines that people say boasting that Sikhism is so great and has all these principles, however in practice these end up being ideals which to a large degree are not practiced by many. Its no wonder people are not staying as Sikhs.

I don’t think Sikhi is lost…but think that it is in transition. I have found that in my personal life that sometimes things have to get really bad in order for me to get motivated enough to make a change. So, in relation to Sikhi I think there will be a renaissance. As the older generation passes on and the new generation of Sikhs grow, many of the old rituals and practices will fall away and Sikhi will flourish.

Ultimately what helps guide me as a Sikh is really being open minded, and seeing all perspectives. Not being quick to judge someone. We have to be open and welcoming. Our judgments and close-mindedness is what repels our youth.

So, the next time you see someone doing something that you don’t agree with, think twice before judging him or her. Try to look at things from their perspective and be compassionate. You don’t have to agree, but at least allow them to have their opinion, rather than get caught up in trying to define it as right or wrong.

Have you ever noticed that when you are irritated or having a hard time in your life that you see negative things in other people (which most of the time is a reflection of yourself)? This understanding helps give me compassion and understanding towards others. So, when I see someone being hurtful, or making fun of someone I can be understanding, and know that this person is this way because of something in their life that they are unhappy about. This awareness also gave me a clearer picture of myself. So when I catch myself being critical and negative about things I can look deeper and understand that something is going on within me.

So… I guess I’ll end here for today. There are so many thoughts and it is sometimes hard to crystallize just one point. As I get time I’ll write some more and get into some ideas for solutions. I always tell people…if you are going to complain about something than you had better be a part of the solution. We have enough complainers. What we need are people that are willing to talk the talk and make the changes they wish to see.

“Be the change you wish to see�.

11 Responses to “Do you ever wonder where Sikhi is going these days?”

  1. Gsingh says:

    I agree with most of the things you have written but I think there must be some rigidity in the rehat we follow. Take for example,some so called ‘sikhs’ drink and smoke and are non-vegetarians and the worst part is they won’t agree to the fact that they are not following the rules of guruji. Instead they call themself Sikhs and If you try to explain to them, they call you a fanatic or an extremist. The important thing is drawing the line but where……..oh yeah before I end I am really inspired by you…Please keep up the good work…and if there’s any sewa just let me know.

  2. I agree… the problem comes when someone tries to judge those who do things this way…which just pushes them away more. Everything in life is a fine balance. Too much in either direction and things become imbalanced. The trick is finding the balance. Meditating and tuning in deeper help with this.

    The issue is if someone drinks and smokes and calls themself a Sikh I don’t feel it is my right to say that they are not. Even if it is against the Rehit. That is between them and God. I may not agree, but who will it serve to tell them that they are not? It becomes a battle. On the other hand…you could try subtly other ways to inspire them in a positive way so that they may see things differently.

  3. Jazz says:

    Yes I agree with most of the comments. We need more active youth in the communities to help spread the message of Sikhism.

    Feel free to visit

    God Bless America!

  4. singh says:

    I think prerequisite to solving any problem is recognising that there is a problem. I think Sikhs have reached that stage, everyone agrees that sikhi knowledge is not being passed to the next generation most effectively.

    I am optimistic that sikhi will be in chardi kala, In recent year solutions are starting surfaced to address this need, example SikhitotheMax software being used in Gurudawara’s, stress on teaching youth kirtan in raags ( ), sikhtoons, more and more events being organized by SSA at various universities, more awareness of Sikhs in North America, etc

    Oh ya cant thank you enough for your work on Sikhnet!


  5. Gurmit Kaur says:

    you are a true inspiration to the world community and a clear indication that Sikhi is going GLOBAL.Keep up the seva of doing naam and spreading it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I wonder all the time. And I agree it is at a phase. The more westernism is mixed the more diluted the identity of Sikhism gets but the essence of Sikhism will always remain the same. To do Naam Simran, hardwork and share with others…then you will be satisfied and content that you have done your bit for God, his people and yourself.

  7. Gurmit Kaur says:

    if you want to see dilution of Sikhi, you’ll have to go no further than Panjab the birthplace of Sikhi where every youngster is aspiring to emulate the bollywood look. There are all sorts of idols placed at most crossroads where I have seen so called Sikhs bowing.when I asked an eighteen year old to name the ten Gurus he could only say the names of the 1st and 10th. Very few Panjabi born Sikhs appreciate the true essence of their faith and hence they can take a lesson from the western Sikhs.

  8. C.Singh says:

    Yes….every Sikh has a right to do things their way. Whether smoking or drinking. But I do not agree wit Gurumustuk, that we should not tell them and that’s between them and God. No……just imagine, someone offering you a drink and smoke citing example of the same so called ‘Sikh’, how would you feel. This Bana is a gift from our Guru to us and because of some idiot this thing becomes a general expression for other communities, oh…..sikhs do this or that, then it is our right to rectify the problem by telling off the guy straightaway.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It is rightly said that a sikh is most beautiful person on this earth when follows sikh rehat maryada otherwise he/she is most ugly one. There should not be any hitch in calling a spade a spade. Guru sahib himself has clearly mentioned that ‘rehat pyari muj ko sikh piyara nahe’. However, we can’t fully blame the new generation for not following sikh traditions. We all, parents, sikh leaders, preachers etc. are reponsible for this state of affairs. However, to tackle the situation our approach must be to educate the people rather than blaming them.

  10. Smandeep Singh says:

    Yes, i am very much agree with Gurmustak Singh Ji. Kesh  cutting has been a big issue in sikhism. Having Kesh and living life like a sikh of guru is a great bliss. But people who cut their hair, but have attachment to the gurbani should not be discouraged because of it, they must be encouraged by us to recite gurbani, help them to understand and practise spiritual meditation that sikhism provides. Let them develop as a sikh, Let the Guru to do his job. We all know that A man’s inspirations always displays in his Character, in his look. So once they will be developed as a sikh, the inspirations, the ideology they  will recieve, experience  from Gurbani and from  thoughts and livings of all ten gurus will automatically be displayed in their character.  I am fully agree with the Gurmustak Singh’s comment that only Guru knows who is his sikh and who is not. A Sikh of Guru is not a judge but only a learner as a sikh.    

  11. Singh says:

    First off all mrsikhnet is amazing, and so inspiring. Keep up the good work. Totally agree with all the comments. One more problem has arrived, these new “well educated” preachers in Sikhism. I met a few of them. They are preaching that “doing Naam Simran or Reading gurbani has no effect at all. Just living an honest life is religion, and that’s all gurbani tells us to do”.  Request to Gurmustak Singh Ji please write an article of Naam Simran and why we chant Waheguru rather than any other names of God. Also, how reciting gurbani effects the mind, soul and body. Please send me an email when you do. Thank You.