As much as the fanfare and celebrations excite the world, they sometimes worry me. Every year, I keenly observe the dedication with which Sikhs around the world mark the day of Vaisakhi and other ‘auspicious days’. In 1999, the world also witnessed the same celebrations, but on a grander scale. And now we have amongst us more celebrations – and from what I gather, I can see how people are so fond of their heritage that they like to share with the rest. So what am I really worried about then?
I’m rather confused. While all these celebrations are being done with the earnest of intentions, I’m left lost for words about where we are headed to. As a Sikh, who constantly works towards refining the self and becoming a true Khalsa (which is the also the true living of a Sikh), I’m ever in search for ways in which I can come closer to my Guru, besides visiting the Gurudwara or knowing the names of our Gurus, that I believe most Sikhs are simply comfortable to know and the rest they just wait for life to do it for them. It doesn’t quite work that way.
Going to the Gurudwara, doing our Nitnem and doing seva are all becoming empty rituals. Then we have all these celebrations popping up and people hardly even realise how the Guru has created opportunities for them to wake up and use them to become Gursikhs. We have simply become a lazy and thankless lot.
How can one claim to be a Sikh when they do not even heed the Guru’s basic Hukams? And if the basics are not even being done, then what is the use of going to the Gurudwara and taking part in seva? It is sad to note how many Sikh youth are doing away with their kesh, and to cap up the shock, the elders are no less lost. Men are trimming their beards and cutting off their kesh and the women are no less guilty of cutting short their kesh. Indulging in intoxications doesn’t even strike to
them as an insult to the Gurus’ teachings. We squabble in our Gurudwaras, we transgress the Sikh code of conduct, and yet we dare call ourselves Sikhs! And to add insult to injury, we do nothing or precious little to correct ourselves, least of of humble the self. So what use are all these celebrations and fanfares, for when they are not being harnessed in making each one of us better Sikhs?
How we love to console ourselves and we think we can fool the Guru as well! We are degenerating into exactly what the Gurus salvaged us from. But all is not so grim and grey for those who are still on the path of the Guru, despite the numbers game that the world loves to play.
Spare yourselves all these celebrations if they are not geared towards investment in Gurmat and Parchar. We readily spend bucket-loads of money on everything else, but when it comes to charity, we either limit our pockets or want to be seen and honoured engaging in them.
The next time an important event in history nears, prepare yourselves to learn and grow through them, otherwise the Guru will be anywhere but in our shiny Gurdwaras where Gurmat is reduced to mere talks and little adherence to it.