Speaking of Human Dignity, our Faiths & Shared Humanity

Honor the solemn promise that defines our true calling as One American family

The Sikh Faith Perspective: Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh

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Throughout history, nations have faced challenges of divisive confrontations among warring factions, cultures, races, and faith communities. Today’s center stage: in light of the major cultural renaissance underway and to meet higher expectations, the raging debate is about which lives matter, what changes are needed to make our governing systems more just and fair, and addressing the legitimate concerns of all Americans.

For this and other critical concerns: our faiths and spiritual traditions remain an important resource-guide to visit and discover some common ground and unifying principles.

Throughout the Sikh Scriptures, and we find similar echoes in other major faiths, familiar metaphors define this concept:

“In the beginning God created Light; God’s might has created all. The entire universe is created from that…From one clay, in various forms has He made all creation - who then is pure and impure? Neither is any pot of clay faulty, nor the Potter. The Eternal (Divine Light) abides in all; all happens as He wills.” – (Guru Granth Sahib, Bhagat Kabir - Raag Parbhati, Ang 1350). The human family represents a rich and beautiful multi-textural splendor and yet carries the same unifying Divine Light and sparkling DNA.

Bhagat Kabir was a Muslim saint, a weaver by profession. Kabir is among the 36 Hindu saints, Muslim divines, Sufi poets, Sikh bards and other inspired souls whose compositions are enshrined alongside the seven Sikh Gurus that make up the Sikh Holy Scripture. By this magnanimous, interfaith, enlightened, and visionary act, the Sikh Gurus bridged distinctions and separations at its very foundation. The monotheistic Sikh faith proclaimed and embraced the Oneness of God and sanctity of all faiths; recognized that we are all Children of One God and “…all humanity as One Race.” Sikh faith rejected any and all forms of discrimination based on caste, creed, ethnicity, origin, family status, gender, other characteristics or inhumane rituals.

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Things that divide us or embolden some to discriminate against other human beings are a violation of that divine mandate and duly recognized principle guaranteed in democratic societies.

Many significant beliefs, traditions, and practices of different faiths seem to anchor and converge at similar fundamental precepts and spiritual Truths. This profound revelation invites us to learn about each other, engage to build bridges to create a sense of community; and to foster a respectful spirit across traditional societal and cultural practices.

We must not injure, nor intrude on the cherished beliefs and inalienable rights that anchor and govern the lives of others. The survival and advancement of a free, multi-cultural and multi-faith society depends on honoring this spiritual lesson:

“All are partners in God’s Love and Benevolence; I see no one outside the circle of His unbound blessings;” and further reminding, that, “All are noble in God’s eyes; None is lowly; All vessels are fashioned by the same Maker; The same light illumines the three worlds.” - (Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Nanak - Raag Sri, Ang 62).

A Higher Spirit and Ordinance at work manifests before us some amazing souls:

Leading us to witness the life and legacy of some brilliant world icons: the blind and deaf Dr. Helen Keller; Nobel Laureates Mother Teresa, Eli Wiesel, Rabindranath Tagore, Dr. Martin Luther King, and the Dalai Lama; the unsung and unheralded humanitarian Puran Singh, who carried and cared for the lepers from the streets of Punjab during the better part of his life. Their common denominators are deep faith, sacrifice, and tireless striving to serve and inspire others.

We see children and adults coming out of abject poverty and incredible hardships rising to moving, destined, and transcendent greatness. All blessings come from God!

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It is sad when we see or indulge, blinded by inherited power and privilege squander away and fail to live up to anything worthy of note or even a footnote. Forgiveness and Grace come from God!!

As parents and as a society, we need to tap into what brings out the best in each of us from what we learned in Sunday schools, from exalting testimonies and enlightened teachers, our own life-journeys, and honor the solemn promise that defines our true calling as One American family.

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