Potential Convert Looking to Learn

Discussions on various aspects of Sikhi
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Potential Convert Looking to Learn

Post by Guest »

Every time I hear something about the Sikh religion, I love it. It seems like the vast majority of the beliefs already line up with my personal philosophies. I've done a bit of research on the religion, and have been considering converting, but there are just a handful of practices I don't agree with. I was hoping that by talking to some of you, I could decide one or the other if I should convert.
I am deist, and actually found many Sikh beliefs about god and spirituality to line up. In fact, even if I do convert, I will never NOT be a deist, but would also consider myself Sikh as well. The only spiritual aspect that doesn't match up, as far as I can tell, is the beliefs of karma and reincarnation. I don't believe in any sort of afterlife or reincarnation at all, or a soul really. I believe we're sacks of chemicals and electronic pulses, and when those electronic pulses stop firing the chemicals degrade.
As far as practices and prohibited actions, the only ones I take issue with are prohibition of alcohol and premarital sex. While both can obviously be horribly abused, I believe that if used responsibly amongst consenting adults, they can actually help bring people together and better discover themselves. Especially alcohol, I believe drunkeness is the most accurate way to discover who you truly are deep down, past all of your inhibitions and your superego.
So the reason I came here is to learn more about these beliefs in Sikhism. Are there sects of Sikhism that don't necessarily adhere to the belief or reincarnation and prohibition of alcohol and sex, or if I start calling myself a Sikh would I simply be an imposter and an offense to true Sikhs?
Beyond these few problems, I truly love the practices of the Sikh religion. An emphasis on practicality, equality, and virtue. Doing what you can to help others, making an honest living, and not holding any unnecessary rituals or idols. Furthermore, I would love to join a religion in which I would be part of a greater whole, with a feeling of solidarity amongst my religious peers. While I do firmly hold the beliefs of deism, the religion has no philosophies, no practices, and no feeling of being part of something greater, simply a belief in a logical conclusion of where the world came from.
swarn bains
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Re: Potential Convert Looking to Learn

Post by swarn bains »

reference to your question. as for as sggs or baba Nanak is concerned. he never mentioned about prohibition of sex or alcohol. it is a social code of conduct of the society. sggs deals only with spirituality. rest is all made up by certain people or committees.
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Re: Potential Convert Looking to Learn

Post by IJJSingh »


You have asked several questions, I will try to answer one by one:

If you followed Sikhism conditionally would you be “an imposter and an offense to true Sikhs”?
Humans are judgmental by nature. There will always be a group of people who would think that you are not a true Sikh. However, this should not deter you. There have been many “Sikhs”, who were contemporary of Gurus who questioned Gurus' wisdom and thinking. If some Sikhs can question authenticity of the Gurus, I don't think they will spare you or I. The only person whose opinion matters is your own. If you are learning from the Guru you are a Sikh. I can tell you one thing that if you manage to follow Nanak in everything save the three you mentioned, you will be a better Sikh than I.

Is it OK to drink alcohol?
The Guru says: If you can help it, don't drink alcohol.
ਜਿਤੁ ਪੀਤੈ ਮਤਿ ਦੂਰਿ ਹੋਇ ਬਰਲੁ ਪਵੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਆਇ ॥… ਝੂਠਾ ਮਦੁ ਮੂਲਿ ਨ ਪੀਚਈ ਜੇ ਕਾ ਪਾਰਿ ਵਸਾਇ ॥ Drinking the wine, his intelligence departs, and madness enters his mind;… Do not drink the false wine at all, if it is in your power. (SGGS 554)

It’s an extremely risky assumption that alcohol “can be used responsibly”. Problem with alcohol is that it strikes down the very faculties which help us become responsible. Once drunk we end up doing a lot of the bad things which we otherwise would never do. You can walk into any AA group and every single alcoholic will tell you that they started out thinking they will drink responsibly. I have family members who often cry because they know the damage alcohol is causing but they cannot stop drinking.

Is pre-marital sex OK?
There are a lot of references in SGGS against sex which violates a marriage (i.e. having sex with somebody else’s spouse or being married and then having sex with somebody other than your own spouse). Extra-marital sex is obviously bad because you are defrauding and hurting somebody. In my view if we scrutinize our actions, pre-marital sex is also not good. If pre-marital sex was harmless, then why are most people bothered when they find out about sexual partners of their loved ones (even if these partners pre-date marriage)?

Belief in reincarnation
Belief has no impact on reality. If there is no reincarnation, no amount of believing will make it happen. If there is reincarnation then no amount of disbelief will make it go away. If we form a belief based on figment of our imagination without any experience, it’s a useless exercise. If we trust somebody and form a belief based on what that person has seen or experienced, then there is some logical basis for that belief. Beliefs become dangerous if we start thinking that we are better than others and we close our mind to any growth and learning. Belief with an open mind, even if it’s based on not much, is OK if it helps guide our positive behavior. If you strongly believe that any good you can do must be done in this lifetime and you will not get another chance, then you are much better than the person who continues messing up believing that he will get another chance to do things right in the next life.

Sikhism is a journey. What you believe today is based on your current experiences and based on what you know about the Guru today. In order to avoid hypocrisy and dishonesty you must follow what you believe today but remain a seeker and keep your mind open. If you keep interacting sincerely with the Guru, your thinking and experiences will keep evolving. You will not become a Sikh by converting you will become a Sikh only by learning from the Guru. There is no harm in remaining a Deist as long as you keep learning.

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh
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Re: Potential Convert Looking to Learn

Post by Superstar »

IJJ Singh is correct, if you want to follow, follow properly or you don't have to follow. A person doesn't need to become Sikh to be able to learn from Sikh scripture or Sikhs. However, when a person wants to be Sikh, following the code of conduct is very important. Otherwise, claiming to be Sikh is just a label. Labels are not who you are.

When someone reads Gurbani slowly to understand, person can see many verses that go against drinking or other intoxicants and against sex outside of marriage.

Also, there is a Sikh Code of Conduct which is derived from teachings passed down from Sikhs from the times of Gurus. They all forbid alcohol and premarital sex. Sex outside of marriage is lust and lust is a vice and alcohol blinds the mind and causes people to act in manners they normally wouldn't act in. Why would a holy person be participating in such conduct?

Sikh religion is not like other religions where it is like you do this, then you do this and you are this. No, Sikh faith has some basics that apply to every Sikh and then there is the spiritual journey which is another level. Feeding alcohol to body or having sex outside of marriage is falling into the traps of vices. Sikhs are above such elements. Sikhs are to conquer these vices.
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