Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sikhi and Health

There are always instances where a difficult decision needs to be made- a difficult decision where an indivual's values can be put on the line and the individual has to judge which decision would be for the greater good. In Sikhi, one of the critical issues that we face is deals with hair removal and what we should do when we are put in a situation where the removal of hair will be inevitable. This week, the issue dealing with the importance of hair and whether the Sikh values can be bent in certain situations was discussed.

Arguments For:
o Making such a decision is personal choice
o If it is related to medical purposes, making the decision of hair removal makes sense and is something that is just logical
o Everything happens for a reason- it is God’s will
o It is easy to say one thing, but you never know what will happen until you are put in the situation
o Sikhi is a progression- if you are stopped along the way, that shouldn’t give you a reason to be punished by God.
Arguments Against:
In the Sikh history, Singhs have sacrificed their lives for hair so perhaps it’s a bigger deal than we think.
People are being cured from cancer and aids within hours from verses in the Guru Granth Sahib so is surgery even required?
In medical school what Bhagat Kabir has said is being studied so medicine itself is beginning to rely on faith for cures.
Most of the time, people who say things in defence of hair removal of any sort are just using it as an excuse

Questions raised:
o What if the person is unconscious and has no way of contacting parents and their hair needs to be removed? Then what do you do?
o As Sikhs, if you are being kept alive and your hair is removed which is a basic principle in the religion aren’t you removing your cause of being by doing that?
o In reference to the argument of such an occurrence being God’s will, how do you know it was God’s choice or free will?
o What about taking in drugs like marijuana for reducing pain? Isn’t that wrong as well?
o You can say that its all Waheguru’s hukum- but how far do you take it?
o How much do we follow Gurbani in general since we are always using it in reference to certain issues.

· Important points:
o Our parents had to face much worse situations about having a different appearance in this western world-so we shouldn’t really even be complaining about anything.
o If you are going against bani, you are going against the Guru’s hukum.
o None of us when our “time” is coming and how far we are going to go
o In life, failures come and go but you need to be able to accept them and move on- its all about the intentions
o We are all humans and have shortcomings. Certain circumstances arise where you must make a difficult decision.
o We have the tendency just to focus on physical health whereas we should be putting equal emphasis on mental health as well.

And the tangent discussion: Sikh girls and the removal of hair to raise self-esteem

· Question Raised: What if a girl who does her eyebrows is/decides to be amritdhari? What happens then?

· Arguments for:
o Self-esteem for a girl is a major issue
o Can a girl not be as good a Sikh even if she does a little bit of hair removal to feel better about herself?
o In society, its alright for guys to have facial hair, but if a girl has any excessive amounts its generally unacceptable
o Aren’t there other qualities that we should focus as equally upon but tend to neglect because this one overshadows them all?
o Besides, judging goes against the Sikh values so opinions must be put aside/

· Arguments Against:
o Girls need to be able to support each other so that they can feel comfortable about themselvesà They need to build a foundation for themselves.
o Yes self-esteem is an issue, but the girl needs to get over it.
o When it comes down to the basics, you are a Sikh if bani says so

· Important Points:
o When it comes to religion, you don’t just have to work on yourself from the outside in, it can also be from the inside out, sort of like a catalyst and gives you more of an obligation to follow that path anyways
o It is a Sikh’s duty to teach other Sikhs what they can


Himmat Singh Khalsa said...

I really like these meeting notes. It's too bad I don't live in that area anyomre. I would like to recognize all of the meeting organizers for getting so much discussion in in one meeting. I have tryed to hold meetings before, at Miri Piri, when I was a squad Jathedar and it is very challenging to get a lot done. I guess everyone in those meetings are at least 15 yrs though.
I know in the topics you have acknowledged that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And that according to the Guru's bani judgement is not for anyone but God.
My comments on the topics from my point of view are:
Look at the big picture, what is your goal in life? Mine is liberation, not to keep my hair. Keeping my hair is my lifestyle, but my priorities are straight - I want liberation. Either way you want to look at it - there is no point in comparing a Sikh fighting cancer questioning doing the leukemia treatment to the martyrs that did not give up their hair to the invading Moghuls. There is no point to show the disease, the martyrs were proving to the Moghuls that they had learnt about their values and that they wouldn't give them up for money, property of to convert to a religion that supported forcing others into their religion.
I can also understand that it would be a very hard choice to cut your hair after how-ever-many years you have been alive.
On the topic of ladies and their hair:
I don't have any first hand experience making these choices, but I like to question everything. I was born a Sikh and was brought up in this lifestyle. But once I became old enough, I began to wonder why I was the way I was. So when I make a decision, I look at the physical (scientific) value of it, and the spiritual value of it. (It seems like there should be intellectual value to things too, but, to my knowledge, I haven't become aware of them yet.) So, if a woman has facial hair, it is - to my understanding - a hormonal imbalance. So, although it is a controversial thing to do, I think that it is fine to get rid of it. Plucking the eyebrows: They are there to catch your sweat so that it doesn't get in your eyes. That is all I know about the value of them. But, if someone is growing a unibrow, it would be interfering with the ajna (third eye [pituitary]). Usually when I see a girl with plucked eyebrows I feel that she needs the approval of everyone who sees her.
My apologies for the long comment, just thought I would make up for the abscence of them.
Sat Nam,
Himmat Singh Khalsa

Anonymous said...

Nice Comments himmat keep posting

WesternSSA said...

Himmat Singh
Thank you so much for showing interest in these discussions and posting your thoughts. It is a great feeling to know that there are individuals like you who show so much interest. That is the driving force for us to keep doing what we are doing :).

Saaaaaiiiiiiiingh said...

himmat singh, do you think there is liberation for a SIKH without following the hukams of our Guru?

All we can really do is follow our gurus hukams and hope that guru sahib does kirpa on us to reach liberation. Without guru sahib, we can never get liberation.

A sikh is first and foremost a sikh of his guru. A true sikh should be a gurmukh, and should be always be listening to his gurus hukam. To conciouscly go against guru shaibs hukam is to be a manmukh. And guru sahib clearly describes the life of a manmukh.

Manmukh janamai janam mareejai

Guru sahib also describes what a manmukh gets

Gurmukh hoe kaiaa gurr leejai

So, its clear that a manmukh will not get liberation, although a gurmukh might. Now dont get me wrong, im not saying all that their is to being a gurmukh is keeping your hair, just this is just a very, very small piece, but an uncomprimisable piece none-the-less

Anonymous said...

There is a person who goes by the name "little girl" who has leukemia. She is from Laguna, California. She is a sikh. She has leukemia. She underwent bone marrow transfusion on June 24, 2010. She got admitted to Harvard Law School (JD/MBA) in 2010 on the recommendation of Steve Balmer from Microsoft. Her e-mail is

She says she profits from her disease. She gets free airtickets, college recommendations, etc. She looks for people to marry her. Her parents have tried marrying her but failed. Their money cant buy them a husband for her daughter. She is quite famous by name of "flower girl" on a website called FSI.

The people who knew her wonder who many sins she or her family must have committed that she got leukemia. She is quite famous for the person who commits sins and lies.

She is bringing very bad name to sikhs and asian community.