Dust of the Dust of the Dust….

Over the years I have observed some characteristics that some Sikhs have taken on regarding an effort to reduce ego/pride. As Sikhs we are taught to not get attached to the five "challenges" of Lust, Anger, Greed, Pride and Attachment. In an effort to prevent these feelings I have seen some practices by Sikhs which I think are unnecessary.

The first routine is the overly humble guise. It goes something like this: "I am just a lowly sinner…" , "I am the dust of the dust of the dirt"…  "I am a das of the das", "I know nothing…", etc. Most of the time when I hear this type of thing from people it feels just like a cover to try to negate any ego. In reality for most people it feels like a false routine to portray ones self as humble. I know in Gurbani Guru Nanak and other Gurus have used similar words as this…but this was our Gurus expression. It’s one thing if you say this to yourself as an internal thing in your mind…..but to say it to other people is very different. It’s as if you have to say it out loud to prove, or make sure that people know you are humble. It’s sort of a false humbleness. If you are humble people will see it in your actions, words, and in your presence (not by words and statements about your humbleness).

 

There is the "Please forgive me" Maafi routine ("Bhul Chuk Maaf) – That one starts out apologizing and then getting really heavy. As if by apologizing it makes everything that is said ok.

There is the "I know nothing" routine – Someone gives a lecture for two hours and then ends with something like "I know nothing and am just a servant of you all."

Another routine is the "anonymous sevadhar". This is by far the most common I have seen these days. I think many Sikhs have been taught that in order to prevent ego from coming into your mind that you should remain hidden and unknown when doing seva. While this might work and be great in some situations, I think quite often this is taken to extremes for everything.

  • Example 1: My friend Gurujot Singh went to a Samagam out of town and was doing lagar seva. Later on a Sikh was telling him that he should not do seva in Bana, he should dress very simply and do seva that no one knows about. The person’s impression probably was that by wearing bana and doing a seva in public that it was being done out of ego to show people how servicefull and how "spiritual" you are.
  • Example 2: In the world of the internet it is easy to remain anonymous, so the "anonymous sevadhar" is very common online. Many people that run Sikh websites or do various seva online go to great lengths to stay anonymous. I can email back and forth with someone tens of times and have no idea who I am taking to except for the name "sevadhar" that is signed at the end. I have no idea who I am dealing with.

Bana, Clothing, jewelry, etc – This is another one where people think that if you are wearing bana that you are showing off and trying to look holy. So they say you should wear very simple clothes that don’t stand out. This routine also relates to jewelry and people feel that by wearing jewelry that you are getting caught up maya. We all talk about being Khalsa Raj, Kings, Queens, princes and princesses. So…are we paupers or are we kings/queens? This is another case of trying to shelter ourselves from feeling ego/pride/etc.

The point of all this is more about finding a balance. As Sikhs we are householders that live in this world. We are not sadhus hiding up in the mountains to escape from all the Maya. Trying to shelter or protect one self from feeling these things is not the answer (in my opinion). We as Sikhs should deal with it head on. God gave us a mind and intellect to feel these things and to be able to deal with them. Beating around the bush trying to hide from it can only work for so long. When you have a feeling of pride/ego/lust/etc….you have a choice. You can dwell or act on it…or you can be conscious of this feeling and "cut" it and change the direction of your thoughts. I think the problem is when you are not conscious of these feelings. 

Being a Leader and Examples for others to Follow
Another thing in relation to "anonymous seva" is that there is a need for leadership and good examples for everyone around us. It is a good thing to have role models and be able to see people who are doing good things for the community. If all these people are "hiding out" they might not be available to share and help inspire others to do the same. I think it is great to be out there and help others in a public way. I deal with this all the time being the so called "Mr. SikhNet". Lots of people know me, and I serve and share very publicly. Am I full of ego and pride? I don’t think so. The service isn’t about me…it’s about being of service and helping others. It’s just a medium. It’s not to say I never feel pride or ego, but I watch my mind and catch it if it tries to go astray. It’s just part of the territory. I choose to face these things head on. Some people do this and may fall victim, but this is just part of life and learning. We learn by overcoming these challenges and controlling our mind, not by hiding out.

There is something good about being very personal with people, being honest, and sharing who I am. Having nothing to hide makes one also more conscious of things that they do and say, because you have to take responsibility for everything, which isn’t always easy. On the internet lots of people (Sikhs included) choose to hide behind anonymous names and say/do things that they would never do publicly as "themself". There is a certain character I think in being you, and taking responsibility (good and bad) for your actions and words.

Hopefully all this makes you think about these topics and become more conscious about how you deal with it in the future.

Here is a short video by SSS Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji during some question and answer session with Sikh Youth in Surrey, Canada (March 19th 1996) on the topic of Humbleness and Jewelry.

Download: Audio / Video 

You can also watch a video with Guruka Singh on the similar topic of "The Five Challenges". In this video Guruka Singh shares his thoughts on this and gives suggestions as to how to deal with these feelings.

70 Responses to “Dust of the Dust of the Dust….”

  1. Gurinder "G" says:

    Gurumustak  singh ji,Great article, in the sense that we have to live as house holders in the maya,  And enough from the pretenders….  I love it!!! I think its time to discuss ourselves and measure ourselves not others…

  2. Christine says:

    Hi,Enjoyed reading your article.  Would like to recommend the book "Transcending The Levels of Consciousness" by Dr. David Hawkins. His outline of what the ego is/isn’t has been very helpful to me (it is in spiritual terms).  Think sometimes we need to look at are we coming from identifying with the body state of consciousness or not.  In order to get out of that state sometimes I’ve have to forfit things that will pull me into it, like paying too much attention to what I look like etc.  Maybe once we are identifed with the real Self, it won’t matter so much.  Do think that people can have vanity and use a false humbleness as a vanity also, and use clothing as a vanity, whether it be spiritual clothing or not.  It all depends upon the state of consciousness of the person, something we can never really know from an outside perspective, but just work on ourselves to be in the right place? Dr. Hawkins also talks in his book about the spiritual ego/pride

  3. Gurinder "G" says:

    One more thing or things… It’s true that a person can be the richest person in the world but still be humble and spiritual. The problem that I have been observing is that all of us would like to judge others. And I have done it too. But I have seen people trying to analyze pics posted on this website and making remarks why that person is wearing that particular clothes or color etc.. Rather on discussing the issue at hand…yes, at times I have reacted to my emotions (inside feelings) rather than contemplating about it. It just happened on the use of marijuana by the Nihangs and I went off posting two terrible posts on pure biased judgement. But when I took sometime to think about it and found out that I have just reacted to my emotions … So, I took the initiative to delete those comments by request and the moment those were taken off I felt very light as if lot of weight of biased judgmental has been taken off. My point is that if we do make a mistake its okay to accept it and move on, but learning from it. If have not learned anything then we are constantly are babbling with no meanings……

  4. Prabhu Singh says:

    LOLI was realy laughing at how well you described the common methods for "displaying" humility amongst Sikhs.I’ll never forget a comment I read on your blog where somebody said that people will say "forgive me if I said something wrong, I’m your servant" and then if you say "you said this" they start arguing – hahahahaha

  5. Gurujot Singh says:

    this is something that i always find funny. i listen to someone talk for an hour or two, and at the end he says "forgive me because i’m so lowly and i don’t even know anything". the question in my head was if you don’t know anything what were you talking about for the last 2 hours? lolGuru Granth Sahib says this "Servant Nanak is a lowly worm." (Guru Amar Daas Ji – Raag Gauree -163). I think the Guru is so great that the Guru realizes Ik Ongkar, that even Guru Amar Das as a person with a body and a personality is nothing, and he says that. Whether that is the truth or not i don’t think i can believe most people who says these kinds of things, because inside we are thinking "i am something".And another one is people apologizing when their not sorry. people take the maafi out of context, and now it’s just custom. if you don’t say it people wonder why… even if you don’t feel sorry. if someone shares something with me i don’t need them to apologize to me for it. i don’t get that.i am reminded of a Sikh who became so rude and he was threatening to sue me/my organization for some reason. we were very reasonable with him, and he would give very calm threats to us, and always address us with "Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh". i didn’t see how he could mean that greeting to his Khalsa brother and at the same time be threatening us… it’s just fake/customary pleasantries and humilities.

  6. I absolutely loved this post! I couldn’t agree more on every point made. I can really relate to the Maafi scanario, Maya & Anonymous sevedaar points – I see it happening all the time here that it gets annoying & ridiculous at times.

  7. Ravinder Singh says:

    This is a fantastic posting! I completely agree and can’t understand how someone can say something then says ‘please forgive me if i am wrong’. As Gurujot Singh Ji had put it, why even talk if you’re so uncertain that you’re not going to stand by your statements, some things are so strange…

  8. Savraj Singh says:

    Nice post and nice blog redesign!  I think a corollary is the defeatist attitude that comes from being ‘so humble.’   There are many, many, many talented people with many good ideas about how things should work in the Sikh community.  Go to their home and they’ll tell you that this and that happened, and list a number of things that can change and be improved.  When you turn around and say (politely), "so what are you going to to about it?" The response is almost always "oh no, I’m just one small person, I am not at the level to make that sort of change."

  9. Guru Darbar says:

    Everybody is a part of everything anyway. Lowly, highly, ego, no ego, perfect, imperfect, it is all a part of us remembering to live by the command of Shabd Guru. The more one can recognize this…the better.Can I get a what what? (Sorry, was that too egotistical?)

  10. Balbir Singh Khalsa says:

    This is a very good article. After doing Simran, I understood that when spirtual people (Not egoist) say that they don’t know anything even after talking 2 hours, they know that there is lot to learn. Gurmat does not have any end. When it comes to divine knowledge, only God and Guru are perfect. Bhulan andar sab ko, abhul Guru Kartar (Everybody commits mistakes except Guru and Creator).  Its good idea to be humble, but we should not be showy and try to hide ourselves from public. We should openly share our experiences and strongly accept what we have said and at the same time, welcome new ideas as well.

  11. Hardeep Singh says:

    Various persons – various circumstances develops human behaviour.

  12. ujjalbir says:

     I had a good laugh .Actually behaviour stems from upbringing and in some cases there is always hypocracy thinking they are fooling people . well you can foolsome of the people some of the time not allthe people all the time . Then in some of the most powerful games politics leadership is all about fooling people through hypocracy and some of the people in the fore front in religious institutions are actually born politicians and excercise all the methods of politics . very thought provoking indeed and also amusing  . MAY GOD BLESS THE SIkh NET TEAM

  13. Manjit Singh says:

    I loved the post!  I sometimes also wonder about using the word "ji" that I see on the internet posts after people’s names.  I know it is a respectful thing, but at times I feel it gets overused , kind of like "bhul chuk muaff". I have done that with Gurumustuk all the times, by calling him "Gurumustuk Ji", "Gurumustuk Sahib", or just plain "Gurmustuk" on the internet.  The first time I met him in Yuba city, I called him "Gurumustuk".  I have a hard time telling what the right protocol would be so the safe way would be add "ji".  But I guess overuse of not using "ji" could also be damaging.  Thanks for the post!  "bhul Chuk Muaff"

  14. Hari Singh Khalsa says:

    I loved this post too.  Your description of the "I know nothing" routine just made me laugh so much.  If ever I request to speak to the sangat, then I’ll be doing it because I presuppose that I have something to share (or that I know something).  If ever I’m invited (a scenario I’d much prefer) I’ll assume the invitation came because someone recognizes knowledge or wisdom in me.  You’ll never here me say "I know nothing", because this isn’t true, I know exactly what I know.  Sometimes I necessarily come to the conclusion that I know more than others.  This isn’t an ego thing, this is necessary in order to be able to confidently decline redundant or nonproductive conversation with certain people.  My general approach, however, is: "what can I learn from this person?".  I can already know that someone I am talking to has less formal education than me, or has a lifestyle which appears to be more a result of ignorance or the influence of society/media or others than a result of conscious spiritual thought and development.  However, even in these cases, I never discount someone as a potential teacher.  As a result I have collected many gems from many unpolished sources.  My pitfall is that I still haven’t found the balance to be able to end conversations which are redundant or unproductive politely, at least not in all cases.  I try and be polite and assume there may be something that is new or informative and then I’m left disappointed when the conversation offers nothing new.  I’m to the point now where any new conversation I have about Sikh history or maryada, I’m going to have to speed the conversation up with statements like "yes I know that, please move on."  Sometimes I get these older people (always men) that think because I’m gora I somehow don’t know Sikh history, or that I can’t really know anything about the SGGS or Sikh Dharma, so they must educate me.  These are the conversations I’m going to aim to accelerate or end.  Other times I have monas who feel they must explain Sikhi to me, it’s hard to not be judgmental of them in this case, but it feels offensive sometimes.  Since my comment has veered onto a different path altogether let me end with a related story that I just recently realized is completely absurd.  My wife is not Amritdhari, but lives as a Khalsa.  This is a pretty large step considering she was raised catholic and her mom actually makes fun of her for being vegetarian at times, while her old friends and family don’t understand why she keeps all of her kesh.  I really honor and respect her for being able to come this far, and some day she may decide to take amrit as well.  Two years ago she was in a restaurant near the Harimandir sahib with her friend who is very new to Sikhi but has already started on the path.  In this restaurant a Punjabi man without a beard and without hair or a turban started a conversation with them.  This man started to "explain" to them what Sikhi is, then he said that he is Sikh.  They both then told him that they are Sikhs as well.  Up to this point my wife had a hard time saying she was Sikh, because not being Amritdhari, she was concerned that she may not know enough or represent well enough to call herself Sikh.  I had continually re-assured her that she was a great Sikh (especially since she is humbler and much more serviceful than I am and I call myself a Sikh).  So I was proud of her for telling that man that she was Sikh.  That man then said to her "no, you can’t be a Sikh, because you don’t wear a turban."  Apparently, he was familiar with the fact that many western, non-Punjabi Sikh woman wear turbans.  However, because they were initially speaking Spanish amongst themselves and neither one of them are light-complected and neither wore a turban he didn’t realize they were part of the "gora-Sikh clan".  Now that he knew they were familiar with Sikhi and associated with other western Sikhs than they should be wearing turbans like everyone else, right?  So he told them they weren’t Sikhs because they didn’t wear turbans.At first I just empathized with my wife as she told me this story and I brushed it off as another arrogant person who thinks they know so much, but then recently I was thinking of this instance again when I realized, "Wait, this is completely absurd".  That man claimed to be a Sikh, although he wore no turban and did not maintain his kesh, yet said that my wife could not be Sikh because she did not wear a turban.  So apparently if you don’t wear a turban you can only be a Sikh if you are Punjabi.  Also, if you are Punjabi, you don’t need to adhere to the pesky tenants laid forth by the Guru, because Punjabi blood is way more important than your actions in this life.

  15. Gurmeet Kaur says:

    Right On.  If everyone quit wearing Bana to blend in (to show humility) who will show and inspire people to wear one ? If all the leaders start using Anonymous Singhs and Kaurs as their names; what will happen to visbile inspiration that our community needs so bad ? GK

  16. Bharat Vir Singh says:

    Hari Singh Khalsa,you should NEVER say things like,"…you don’t need to adhere to the pesky tenants laid forth by the Guru…" even in a joke or even lightly or sarcastically,because that would be ‘beadbee'(sacrilege).And by the way,it is not "tenants" but TENETS(principles/rules/beliefs of the faith).

  17. manvir singh says:

    Gurfateh, although it is important to realise such facts, why is it that so often we are finding and discovering so much that is wrong with everyone. Unfortunately 95% of articles read in newspapers have negative tones. More unfortunate still is that over 50% of the news breaks about Sikhs have negative undertones. Ok, let us understand that we have things to work on. Additionally, we should also look for solutions, or at least offer one concomitantly with anything that we have observed.  Hari Singh Khalsa Ji’s post is an important reflection of this. If we meet a surly individual, let us ask how we can be in rapport with them. How can we align our spiritual centers with them? That’s it, all we need to do is start by asking. By asking ourselves we become aware, by being aware we become conscious, by being conscious we have the capacity to contemplate and reflect, by this we can intuitively meditate, and of course take the steps to be in Alignment with our intrinsic and extrinsic values. Finally, thank you for the post because it has made me reflect upon my own self. Sincerely.

  18. Amarpreet Singh says:

    Veerjio…
    I was reading and thinking why should we even talk about what others do and why they should or should not do?

    Maulaa Khel Kare Sab Aape
    Ikna Kadde Ik Lehar Vyaape..

    Thanks
    Amarpreet Singh

  19. There is a say " Your action speeks louder than your words " But
    still people try to use words rather acting accordingly,

    I think when self respect crosses the limit it becomes ego of
    the person , a person who can stick it to self respect only can control the ego but beleave me it is very difficult to do that, even i am wrting this thing i am aware of this but still i take many things on ego !!

  20. Punja B.I.G. says:

    Spot on Amarpreet Singh. After reading this post I find it nothing but trying to judge people who are judgemental of others. So whats the difference, between them and the one who agree with the post.

  21. simran says:

      Gurumustuk Veerjee,
    Awesome post!  I loved reading it and reflecting on it.  I was laughing all the way because I am a witness or guilty of using those false statements. 
    I agree that our Guru didn’t want us "really hide" with the distinct Khalsa uniform and embracing bana could be a good thing.
    I have personally used "Bhul Chuk Maaf" after saying something that is bound to pinch in a public forum and/or the "annonymous" signature.  I won’t be using that anymore :)

  22. Punja B.I.G., You seemed to have missed the whole point of this blog post. Did you watch the videos too? The purpose is not to criticize and judge people…it’s about awareness of how each of us act for ourself, and being in control of our mind. Many of these things I brought up in this blog post are just things everyone learned from others, so this is why it is done. I’m sharing a perspective on this topic. The purpose of pointing these things out is to make people more conscious of them and share alternatives. It is a good thing to share other “tools” of combating ego/pride/etc. This way…the next time someone feels ego/pride…they have another way to deal with it, rather than trying to shelter them self from even feeling it.

  23. Awesome ..Awesome Article Gurumustuk singh jee..very nice way to put up this small but significant things ..As guru says…mn qUM joiq srUpu hY Awpxw mUlu pCwxu ] man thoo(n) joth saroop hai aapanaa mool pashhaan || O my mind, you are the embodiment of the Divine Light – recognize your own origin.

  24. M Singh says:

    WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA, WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH

    There is a definite cultural element to this that is not addressed by the article.  I have been brought up in both cultures and can definitely tell you that dealing with the Sikh community (and in general Indians, and maybe even eastern culture), there is a bit more formality and show of humbleness than that of the Western world.  Perhaps it is my observation only, but this is not restricted to India.  Take for instance the Japanese bowing to each other.  Reading the works of Confucius, there are even guidelines that state that a son should never walk in front of his father.  There is more formality and etiquette at work here that is prevalent in the West.  

    (Side note: Saying to someone to NOT wear Sikh Bana is ridiculous…but judging from that comment, that person would also comment that you should wear Bana if you were wearing pants and a shirt (personality of the person).

    This is in contrast to Western culture, which is very much straight forward.  From my experience, freedom of expression is very prevalent in the U.S. (and there are variations in states as well), more so than other Western countries…you would be surprised how polite the British seem (on average) compared to Americans (because they tend to keep things inside).  This difference even exists in between states in terms of how people communicate with each other, as different levels of open communications and means of expression vary greatly.

    So after all that rambling above, basically:  don’t dismiss it automatically as fakeness.  People are also a product of their culture and surroundings. 

    Forgive me if I said anything wrong, your humble servant…yada yada yada…you know the drill.

  25. mandeep singh says:

    Thank’s for great post and the points you made make alot of sense. We need open discussions like these on all kinds of sikh practises so we can all learn and make our own minds according to Gurbani and Sikh guru’s lifestyle’s. If only we could all become leaders like siri singh sahib said and stop following each other like sheeps.

  26. Gurinder "G" says:

    I think this issue reflects upon those kind of personalities who show their aggressiveness towards others and then at the end will ask for sorry, showing off there humbleness yet they stink of anger. if I punch someone on the face and then say "Bhul chuk mauff". Will this equate me to humbleness?  So, there are lot of pretenders of humbleness, being naive and uncritical. Is it a way to hide our cunningness by using these kind of words? Sure, sounds like it.   A person who makes detestable comments cannot claim to be naive of knowledge( "I know nothing") because the person wrote those comments when he or she is fully conscious and aware of their own thoughts.Therefore, using those kind of words will not make us humble because we are just trying to sugar coat ourselves by using our defense mechanism to protect ourselves only.

  27. Sat Hari Singh Khalsa NYC says:

    There were two very popular and powerful rabbis with thousands of followers each praying in Jewish Temple before the holy aron ha kodesh.The first one says; Oh God ”I’m nothing”, the second then cries out in prayer ”Oh Lord I’m the the most nothing in the world. The janitor comes up behind them and in his prayer says,”Oh Master of the Universe I’m small I’m nothing”. The two big Rabbis look at each other and say,”Look who thinks he’s nothing”.

  28. Harinder says:

    In this competitive world not to use your 5 emotions is to surrender before even begining the game of life.
    This is a coward approach

  29. Manjit Singh says:

    That is funny! It reminds me me of a car sticker:

    "Nobody is perfect

    I am nobody"

  30. Amrita Kaur says:

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki FatehThe Humbleness and Jewellery routine made me laugh!!! And your blog post was very true, I know alot of people who act in such ways thinking they are "humble" and criticize people for wearing jewellery and such other things…and as always Guruka Singh’s videa was enlightening.. You are all so blessed in New Mexico!! Thank you again for sharing this light with me

  31. Ujagar Singh says:

    Pyare veer jeeo,
    There is one more unique thing that I have been noticing over the years and at several places, and needing mention here. It is observed that when a Sikh is in trouble, physically or whatever else like, he comes to Guru durbar and makes a fervent and most passionate prayer (Ardaas) to the Guru, seeking ‘maafi’ (forgiveness) of whatever wrong deeds were done by him, knowingly or innocently. Then he is seen uttering humbly but confidentally and mostly with a smile that now since I have prayed to the Guru, it is left to Him to help me out as He is the best judge of what is good and what is in my ‘hit’ (interest). He also would say that "Hunn dori Guru maharaj de hatth wich hai, jo Guru nu bhawega, ho jayega".  This helps immensely as he feels relieved, is no more tense or under stress. While people of other communities get B.P. etc, and may even think of committing suicide or get into deep depression, the Sikhs are spared of this problem as they have immense faith on Guru.

  32. Jagmeet Singh says:

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh Ji,It is very difficult to judge inner humbleness from outward expressions. I have seen examples on both sides. Some people as you said in your post, showing lot of expressions of humility but not really following it. But on other hand I have had fortune to be with ones, who are humble in their words but their actions speak a lot about them. Most of the times such people go unnoticed unless some one watch them very carefully, and learn from them.

  33. ujjalbir says:

    I fully agree with Hari Singh Khalsa . Actually India is a developing country and the thought  process has still not come out of parochialistic perceptive . My wife does not wear a turban  however her belief in SIKHISM is total .   I have interacted with western people from a high level in their society . Many would never agree on what we say about Sikhism . Therefore people like Hari Singh Khalsa wife has tavelled a lot of distance in spiritual quest . It is not easy to cover such a varied and vast spectrum as it is for the better half of Hari Singh Khalsa more so in western society where one is not only American but also jew, catholic etc. Therefore it may be necessary to look at the fact that there has been someone who has been able to convinence western Sikhs about the teachings of GURU NANAK DEV JI .  The ultimate credit goes to him  and now these Sikhs like Gurumustuk who are now sheperding the cause further . Hari Singh Khalsa is right in saying that who himself is not supporting the basic symbols of Sikhism can only be irrelevant in any interaction.     

  34. Kawal Singh says:

    Dust unto dust. We are all going to be reduced to dust unto dust. There are no exceptions. Death is going to reduce all of us into dust regardless of color,  caste and creed, So why be full of ego and pride."Am I full of ego and pride? I don’t think so."Who makes this kind of statement?Gurumustak , don’t be so sure of your thinking. It seems  you have not been exposed to a ego less person yet.Another thing, you have mentioned some characteristics that some Sikhs observed…. It is not just Sikhs,it is Indian conditioning. Similarly, our American brothers and sisters have  their own conditioning.It is very difficult to see our own conditioned mind.

  35. Mandeep Singh Khalsa says:

    Though I see what Gurmustak Singh Ji is trying to bring up.However some of the differences being pointed out, are more of cross-cultural differences. Being humble (or at least pretending to be humble) is more common in eastern culture. Sikh’s of eastern origin are no exception. For e.g. touching feet of elders as mark of respect, which is very common in India but can easily be ridiculed or questioned here in west.Similarly their are plenty of things to point in West, which "doesn’t mean what it sounds like" but can easily be attributed to local culture.Whenever this cross cultural differences pop up, people tend to stick to their learnings, perceptions & stereotypes. Hence as you pointed out somebody asking Singh not to do seva in bana. As I understand it, the origin of this could be in India. When some seva-groups more popularly known as "kar sewa walle babe". They take responsibility of a seva of any kind, they make sure that "their" sevadar’s wear a particular color of "dastar" or "kamkassa" to indicate their affiliation. To many it looks like a egoistic way to show off and reminding others , "We are DOING seva".That’s where our elders put it that do seva in such a way that your left hand doesn’t know what right hand did. So our Singh may be wearing his bana as usual but the other person can’t see that and attributed it to show off. Hence as per him a "corrective" suggestion.These cross-cultural difference will go away as east & west will interact more. For now its better to make effort to understand each other.  Learning & teaching is needed both way.

  36. Amarpreet Singh says:

    It was a great discussion and interesting how we use our fickle mind to confirm our thinkings about others.. As long as intent is to share and learn..this was great!! and noone can judge others intent..

    I would caution all to not stereotype their thinkings about others based on external observations as that is the game MAYA plays in our mind.. we have to rise above it!

    Fareeda Kaale Likh Na Lekh
    Aapne Girevaan Mein Sir Neevan Kar Dekh

  37. Kawal Singh says:

    Gurumustak Singh,

    Those who live in glass houses do not throw stones at others…

    It is  okay to critise others but it is not easy to swallow critism. 

    It is sheer ego! Holier than thou attitude

    This article reflects negative attitude towards Indian Sikhs.

  38. Kawal Singh, I think you missed the whole point of this blog post. It’s not about judging and criticizing others. It’s about being aware of things that many of us do unconsciously or because this is what we have learned from others around us. I am merely sharing a perspective on other ways to deal with the “five challenges”. I am not saying in general that everyone that does something like this isn’t sincere or humble. I am just making people aware of how sometimes these practices are false. The purpose is for us to be conscious of our mind and in control so that we don’t become a slave to it.

    You have a right to your opinion and I’m sorry you feel that way. As a Sikh I believe in universality and openness of this path. I don’t practice the “rule book” version of Sikhi that many these days follow…that feel that it is their way or the highway.

    I have no anger towards my Sikh brothers. I have much love and appreciation for bringing Sikhi forward so that I could be on this path. I do however have little patience for those Sikhs that seem to go out of their way to criticize me and the teachings of SSS Harbhajan Singh Khalsa. He has inspired countless people to come tot he feet of the Guru and has done a huge seva for the world by serving in this way his entire life.

    I get emails and questions all the time. When someone sends a question or comment with sincerity and openness then I am happy to respond. I don’t however cater to those who wish to just have a box to stand on and spread their hate and negativity. No matter what I say they won’t change their thinking. I used to try…but after 12 years of dealing with these things I don’t bother anymore.

    May Guruji bless us all to see each other as brothers and sisters and work in a direction of finding oneness, acceptance, rather than picking at things and dividing each other.

  39. Gurinder "G" says:

    Indian Sikhs??? Why are we labeling sikhs according to their regions. When Guru Nanak ji went all over the world and new sikhs, people wanted to learn more about spirituality, were created.  Guru ji never labeled them according to their regions, caste etc…. Sikhs were sikhs, And everyone was treated equally even if there were NOT sikhs.  I think as human beings if we stick to very basics of sikhism then we might be able to progress in our path.  Once we really have progressed in spirituality then we don’t need to beat our drums to notify people about it, instead it can be seen and felt from persons positive vibes of attitude and actions.So, lets reflect upon ourselves and try to improve ourselves not others. Finally, this is the only blog (site) where I have learnt a lot and will continue to learn. Also trying to learn how can I bring those qualities in my daily life.  If we don’t try to implement into our lifestyle, into thinking process, into our actions then its just a waste of time to gather knowledge.  Knowledge is a Light source which should be used to brighten up our pathways.  if a person grabs on to the light source  or keeps on dancing around the light all their life they will never reach their destiny and end up wasting a life time.

  40. manvir singh says:

    What kind of community is this if even sikhnet’s founder’s spirit is degraded to such a level that ‘[he] used to try…but after 12 years of dealing with these things [he do{esn’}t bother anymore.’I think progression comes slowly, but the modern world demands it of us. So let us consider that everyone is progressing, so long as we don’t hurt each other, let us just brush each others ineptitudes off, and Start caring, start believing.

  41. Prabhu Singh says:

    Manvir Singh Ji has made a good point. I also have a similar spirit these days (since I started my blog) and it’s only been two years. I used to think that all Sikhs were living the best of human ideals! Now when I see Sikhs that I don’t know I too often wonder who they’re aligned with and what kind of lecture they’re going to give me, or what kind of trouble they’ll make for me if I express my perspective and experience as a Sikh.I’m working on getting back to neutral and ignoring all those ‘Sikhs’ who criticize. I’m sorry to say but they mostly come from two specific Jethas, and we all know who they are. They both seem to judge excessively and also seem to be prone to violence. It’s always their way or the highway. I know I shouldn’t laugh, but when two fanatics disagree it can be somewhat comical as niether has the capacity to accept differing opinions. These two jethas are mostly aligned on everything, but sometimes they disagree and judge and fight each other and I can only think "now they know how the rest of us feel."The first thing that our Guru tells us is "EK ONG KAR."But somehow, people seem to think that if others don’t agree with them, they’re no longer a part of the one… It’s pretty odd isn’t it?

  42. the only name that m says:

    what does our guru want
    what does our guru say

    i am a sikh
     but does Guru Ji call me his Sikh
    i am nothing, i am something
    but only Guru Ji knows what i am
    They are like that and they are like this
    but when death comes where will they be

    some people say they are nothing
    some people say nothing
    some people say alot
    some people like to say waheguru

    who does Guru ji like to listen too
    i dont know
    Guru ji is Guru ji
    He does what he likes

    thats why i love him
    well i say i love him
    only he knows if i do

    after everything is discussed
    after everything is done
    only one thing remains waheguru

    in reading this   see what you take from it
    and use that as a mirror
    to see yourself
    as i do when i write this

    we are all climbing up this mountain
    to reach the summit waheguru
    with love with Guru Ji' blessing
    climb
    we all climb in different ways
    there could be one way there could be many ways
    what works for you may not work for someone else
    but there is only one person who knows what is right or wrong
    and that is Guru Ji
    climb with love and faith
    dont think about the ups, downs , lefts, rights
    aslong as Guru ji is with you
    does anything really matter

    Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

    i know a name is required
    but i choose not to give it
    maybe it is wrong that i dont know
    but i just ask that you respect this
    this is how i feel, maybe i got issues haha
    because i dont want people to think about a name
    with a name comes thoughts that have nothing to do with waheguru
    you might say that is not true
    for some it isnt, for some it is
    for those that it is true why put them through that
    let them enjoy the message
    and not have other thoughts floating around inside.
    some people give a name  God bless them
    some people dont God bless them
    and if you choose not to post it
    its all good
    thats how god wanted it
    i didnt write this for people to read
    i just wrote it
    and if someone reads it
    god has willed it
    and if no one ever reads this
    haha
    god just wanted me to write something i guess
    express what i feel
    which i have
    so im good :)

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

  43. Rashpal Singh says:

    well said.I think Sikhs who are serving this world should not be anonymous.Our young generation will feel proud by looking at them.

  44. A couple more things :-) Bharat Vir Singh, if you think my brother’s statement is beadbee, then understand that it is not his beadbee, but the man who exactly displayed such low behavior. How could my brother (Hari Singh Khalsa) who is a committed devotee of the Guru describe something like that without having learned of such behavior from some one else? Since you don’t know him, I’ll answer the question. My brother lives in the image of Guru Gobind Singh and follows the life he exactly laid out, with full faith, love, and devotion. Another person displayed the opposite of his lifestyle to his wife, and my brother has described that. Why not find that man and ask about why he has offended a GurSikh with his beadbee? Kawal Singh, Knowing Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa Ji personally, I can tell you that he is in fact a very humble individual. He is one of those Sikhs who I learn from when I wish to learn and understand humility. Taking the defensive and then the offensive (towards Gurumustuk Ji) in relation to this article, shows to me that you must really identify with the behaviors being questioned in this post. Coming to the conclusion that some of these extremely common behaviors are ridiculous, you who acts out those behaviors, must feel hurt. Truly I’m sorry, you feel this way, but Gurumustuk Singh Ji who is "not "full of ego and pride" has not shown "Indian" Sikhs in any negative way. Well I guess until they wish to identify with negative behaviors, but that’s just Gurumustuk bringing light to their own negativity. Of course I’m sorry to everybody, I don’t know anything, yada yada yada… (you know the routine) If I offended anybody, well don’t worry, honestly my opinions aren’t that important to those who are offended. P.S. I like jokes and I like stirring the pot, so no hard feelings everybody :-)

  45. Randeep Singh says:

    Great write up, Gurmustuk!  I was the facilitator of that seminar and was asking the questins which came from the audience, which was all youth.  Just as you had written, I was sick and tired of this false humility and was pleased this question was asked.  As those who are humble can have everything, never use it to demean people, and simply live in humility and grace. That is the Khalsa way.

  46. jasdeep singh says:

    wjkk wjkf,While I definitely appreciate and admire our brother gurmastak singh for pointing out this weird trend that has cropped up among our youth, I do also think that we should be weary of throwing all the "humble" people in one basket. Yes there are a lot of people who will call themselves dassaan daas, and say gusataphi maaf and what else…and those who say such things, but cannot for one second conceive that some of their ideas may not be totally correct, they are just playing games with their own soul.That said, I know of some gursikhs that do parchar and are very quick to stir any praise away from themselves and towards guru ji. Knowing those gursikhs, you know that it is not an act, but something they live out in daily life.Only throwing this comment in cuz it’s human nature to want to compartmentalize everything…and we often start judging people by associations of language, group affiliation, and whatnot…

  47. Sat Bachan Kaur says:

    How much we love to confront!!!. We need a little flame to get in a discusion, it´s been a long since  the number of comentaries  were over 40!!!…And how passionate we  get  to  defend our posture.  Always something new to learn.The question for me is …….are we putting this passion to live the path??I saw me many times reading the Japji Sahib without feeling it….without merging my hole self into it. Maybe this is something that happend, but when I have to defend my "own thruth" I put my HOLE SELF ON IT!!!!I remember one time when my fiance got into a discussion with another sikh about how we live sikhism, and in the end of the conversation they said," tonight we are going to read the Guru for answers"…. and that is it ….. even when we have different ways of see it  for all of us we have  the same Guru Ji. THAT IS OUR BLESS….In my personal opinion I don´t feel that remarking this separations that we have ( and this is a reality that we have to live with) is productive. I know that for you Gurumustuk S and Prabhu S may be really hard to deal with the comments of  people, but  I don´t believe in feeding this  separation  will make us live and feel EK ONG KAR. There are no sides, we are only differents reflections of GOD!!….Imagine the world without differences, it would be like all the melodies would be in monotone..All the love of God sorround us and give us the clearness to see Him in allWahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!

  48. manvir singh says:

    “We achieve peace not by learning new tricks or more strategies to hide our imperfections but by embracing more of our insecurities, more of our shame, our fear, and our vulnerabilities.”  Most of us were taught that if we wrap ourselves in enough layers, create a convincing enough persona or hide behind an attractive enough mask, people won’t discover (or, more to the point, we won’t discover) that we are flawed, imperfect, and insecure. Yet the masks we wear don’t just hide our weaknesses, they also camouflage our strengths.  We wrap ourselves in the many layers of our false self to conceal that we are talented, brilliant, and more fortunate than those around us.  It’s downright exhausting to keep hiding and denying parts of ourselves. Eventually, like a beach ball held under water, they pop up and smack us in the face.  We were born to love and embrace all parts of ourselves, and when we don’t, self-sabotage is the unfortunate result. – Dr. Ford.

  49. Sodhi Jagtesh Singh says:

    Guru-Fateh To All Brothers & Sisters Of Sikh Panth : It was very intersting to notice all whatever is expressed in the article Dust To Dust—  We, the Gursikhs are made in the image of our Guru; as quoted in our Holy Guru Granth : Sikh Guru Guru Sikh Hai Nanak Bhaid Na Bhai. It is the intention or the attitude what matters, in all our actions.We must realise that we are not bodies but illuminated lights called Jot; as guided in Gurbani : Sab Mai Jot, Jot Hay Soiy— & Gursakhi Jot Pargat Hoaiy.Everything has come or comes or will come from Waheguru/Guru Nanak Sahib. He is the supereme as quoted: Sab Tay Vada Satguru Nanak. We are here to meditate/ Naam Japnai Layi & attain salvation/Mukti as quoted : Avar Kaj Tere Katay Na Kaam Mil Sadh Sangat Bhaj Kaval Naam. We are all one, no matter whether you are Eastern or Western Sikh called Jan in Gurbani which is supereme : Har Har Jan Duoia Eaak Hay, Bib Char Kouch Nahay  & in the end : Jaal Yay Upjay Tarang Jeoi Jal Hee Bakhay Sambhay. That is to say everything goes back to AkalPurkh Waheguru/Guru Nanak Sahib.So there is no doubt or dispute. Let’s respect one another & think big ; praying together & be One with Big Jot of Guru Nanak by constantely repeating His name :Dhan Guru Nanak DevSahibji to be followed by Gurmantar : Waheguru- Waheguru .That is real nectar/Amrit as guided in Sukhmani Sahib : Barm Bar Bar Parb Japiay Pee Amrit Ahy Man Tan Darpiay.  Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa , Wahegur Ji Ki Fateh.

  50. spsa says:

    Its by nature that westerners born or converts try to negate any thing that is happening and being followed in the origin point of Sikhi, because these people have got only bookish knowledge but lack the basic spiritual angle. Showing humbleness repeatedly brings it in you. if our great Guru Sahiban used to do this, then we the followers are duty bound to follow it,even if we are not so as our Gurus were, but we can not be so as our Gurus were, because that’s why They were Gurus and we are followers, but we must emulate Them, keep on trying.