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Manifesting Khalsa Raj

In our “Sikh” distributed network - each Sikh is interchangeable with another because we all represent the same universa...

As we start 2015, SikhNet’s Chairman, Supreet Singh Manchanda, shares his vision of a united, global Sikh community. Your support of SikhNet helps serve this vision. Please give today.
Khalsa Raj

In the days of old, there used to be fiefdoms or kingdoms. There were kings and subjects. In the implicit contract, the subjects paid taxes and swore loyalty and the king protected and cared for them. A symbiotic relationship.

As an example, Maharaja Ranjit Singh was one of the most enlightened Maharajas in India. During his rule, people of different castes, cultures and faiths worked together. There was no death penalty.  He created a secular kingdom, even though he was a Sikh. His motto came straight from the teachings of the Guru: “All will be free here.” The kingdom became expansive and prosperous. It stretched from Peshawar to New Delhi and was a land of literacy, knowledge, art, music and poetry. The Moguls who propagated Islam before had banned all of that, but under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, these disciplines flourished again creating a renaissance in India.

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But that was a particular time where a single man could rule with values and with a vision. Today, this type of kingdom is no longer possible.

Yet, as Sikhs, everyday we say Raj Karega Khalsa. Translated - the Khalsa will rule and all will be safe in its fold.

What does this mean today? How can it become real?

First we have to recognize, in a Khalsa Raj, from its beginning and in its design, everybody is an equal part of it. Discriminatory behavior like the caste/class system, racism, or misogyny, have to be abandoned. When we Sikhs talk of humanity - we say Sarbat - it means all. In reality, we should reach out to strive to make sure everybody is included in this Raj and no one is left behind. In order to manifest this Raj, we need to bring Sarbat to the forefront.

Why one asks? Well, our Sikh values are universal. Therefore, our behavior has to be universal and always for the sarbat. When we each live these values, it goes to the hearts of all the people around us.

Our pillars are “Kirit Karna” Working hard honestly and without exploitation. “Vand Chakna” Sharing equally with others and “Naam Japna”  of calling upon the Divine in ourselves and in each other. These pillars lend themselves naturally to this democratic Raj.

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The Khalsa will not succeed just because of how we look. I don't mean that we do not wear turbans or bana. What I mean is that our success won’t depend upon our skin color or creed or even our turbans. We will succeed because of how we behave. Then our unique look will create the association, “Those turbaned people are like this: "They embody nobility with compassion, dignity, justice, and grace. They can serve me."  And then it will be said with appreciation.

In that way, each Sikh becomes a unique ambassador of the Raj. Each and every one of us.

We have to understand, from the time of Guru Nanak through Guru Gobind Singh, common men and women were instruments of the Guru’s word. Common people served as the vessels to bring the Guru’s teachings to the world around them.

The interesting thing about a modern day Raj - it is not a fiefdom, or a serfdom. A modern day Raj captures people’s attention by tapping into their thoughts. It is not, “I conquered you.” They come and they embrace us. It is rulership of the heart and mind. Because, in the space of darkness, we bring light. And all who come, come freely and add their light to the fold making the whole world brighter.

Nobility is not about wealth or power or status. Ultimately, it is a virtue and a way of life. The Gurus asked us to embody that consciousness and then share with others.  Siri Singh Sahib describes Khalsa’s nobility and grace:

 

“The sign of your nobility is that it has a deep effect in relationship with any person one comes across. They say nobility is a virtue which affects every soul just as innocence affects every heart. Nobility is the foundation of every grace. Nobility is cultivated only when you consciously relate to your spirit and the flow of the soul, and you feel the total divinity within. It is a manifestation of divinity. Nobility takes you away from temptation, anger, lust, greed, unvirtuous and unrighteous living. It gives you a qualifying factor to impress everybody without impressing. That is the beauty of nobility. The way you talk, walk, see, feel, serve and get served is a total sum of your living behavior. There is a tremendous flow of spirit in a noble person. A noble person is a very powerful individual. Noble habits, noble language, noble behavior, noble posture and a noble way of communication are so powerfully impressive that even an enemy’s heart can be melted.” -  Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji - July 3, 1978 Khalsa woman's camp.

sAnd for us, this nobility begins with our turban. The turban was given by the Gurus and through the ages has always been a sign of high learning. In many faiths, the priests wear turbans as a sign of respect. Even Jewish high priests of antiquity wore turbans. The fanaticism in the Middle East is creating an absolute  wrong association with the turban. The only way to really battle this is for everyone who is a Sikh to impress people by their positive actions.

 

Global Distributed Network

During Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s time, the Sikhs had a population centered just in India, mostly the Punjab. But today, we exist across the planet - in every country and include people from many different backgrounds. In this new global society, we need to rethink our community as a distributed network.

Why is it a distributed network? Sikhs are naturally independent so every sikh thinks he or she is unique. As we expand, we grow - like a network - all unique and individual but interconnected nodes of communication.

The power of a good network rests in strong communication and having many paths to the destination. In human networks, good communication happens where we are mutually respectful and have a sense of working together to accomplish and be successful.

And the other reason distributed networks work is because the communication does not depend on any one signal or packet. There are an abundance of signals criss-crossing all of the time. If one particular signal gets lost, it is re-sent with another packet through another node and the overall message gets delivered.

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In our “Sikh” distributed network - each Sikh is interchangeable with another because we all represent the same universal values given by the Guru. Together, we become the representation of the Guru’s message. These messages are really not dogmatic but rather core values that define every Sikh.

So, if an individual Sikh or node gets destroyed, and that piece of the message never got received, the Guru will just send another one. This interchangeability becomes paramount. We are just the vessels/packets or nodes to carry the message. Because the values are more important than any one individual.

Now, let’s dream 1,000 years  or 5,000 years ahead. None of the stuff that we think is important today will matter. All this will be dust.

It won't be about measuring how “Sikh” you are. How big your turban is or how long your skirt is. We will dress differently over time - 50, 100, 500 years from now. So, in this day and age, we don’t need to distribute many rules or regulations beyond the Rehet (code of conduct). Because in each locality, people will adopt different rules based on their needs.

We only need to distribute the values.

These values are universal, and Guru Gobind Singh talked about being “true to the values” in his hukam.

ਜਬ ਲਗ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਰਹੇ ਨਿਆਰਾ, ਤਬ ਲਗ ਤੇਜ ਦੀਓ ਮੈ ਸਾਰਾ ॥
Jab Lab Khaalsa Rehe Niaara, Tab Lag Tej Diyo Mai Saaraa

ਜਬ ਇਹ ਗਹੈ ਬਿਪਰਨ ਕੀ ਰੀਤ ॥
Jab Ih Gahai Biparan Kee Reet

ਮੈਂ ਨ ਕਰੋਂ ਇਨ ਕੀ ਪ੍ਰਤੀਤ
Mai Na Karo In Kee Prateet

- Source: Khalsa Mahima from Sarbloh Granth. Entire composition begins on line: 459

Niaaraa means as long as you maintain true to these values, then you are under My protection and I will give you my all. I, then as your Guru have taken this on as my obligation. He even includes a caution that be mindful and the moment you fall into mindless ritual, I will have no part of you and will no longer offer sanctuary and turn my back to you.

Similarly, as an example I see Pope Francis is successful today because he is manifesting the true values of Christ - regardless of the trappings. He is manifesting love. Look how many people are rushing to embrace him. He even chides and admonishes his cardinals when they fall into dogma.

Sikhs need to be the same way. We have to accept and understand our values while communicating them simply and become the nodes, as Guru Nanak first saw the divine in all and revolutionized the world around him. Simply said, “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.” By living and sharing this, we each become bright nodes in the Guru’s distributed network.

When the global Sikh community understands this, then we will know that it does not matter where you come from but rather where you are going. It won’t matter whether you are an old or a new Sikh. It won’t matter what language you speak, or what geography you come from. What will matter is where you are going with the Guru’s values and every person you touch will brighten as well.

Winning over people’s minds and ruling over people’s hearts - then we will have started the Khalsa Raj.

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Authors:
Supreet Singh Manchanda,
Board Chairman for SikhNet.com




Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa,
Board Secretary for SikhNet.com

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