Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 142

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“By conquering your mind, you can conquer the world.” Guru Nanak Dev Ji

Today Spidey found a quote from the first Guru, teacher, of my religion, Sikhism because yesterday was Guru Nanak Gurpurab, or the day we celebrate what would have been his birthday.

I take a lot of strength from many of his words, as he shows such simple wisdom within them.

The quote above is something I find very true. If you ‘conquer’ your mind, show self belief, only then can you go further in your journey, and ultimately, ‘conquer; the world.

Equally, if you can steer your mind to thoughts of purity, then you are able to see the world in a clearer way, and you can make the changes that are more visible, without the fog of opinions and self doubt.

I’m off to go clear my mind, go, clear yours!

 

Have a Serene Sunday Peeps!

Inter-Faith Marriages #SundayBlogShare 

On Saturday morning I received a message from a friend.

She had forwarded a screenshot to a few of us friends, of an Instagram post from a Sikh Youth group here, supposedly educating against the use of alcohol or drugs, and ‘grooming’.

This shot showed, in clear view, a photo of a wedding card, for a couple due to get married today in my local Gurdwara.

The bride is Sikh, the groom, of African/Gujrati descent.

The message accompanying the photo was to basically phone up the temple and cause a ruckus about a marriage being held there between a Sikh and a non-Sikh.

Let me clarify here, she had sent the photo as a discussion item in a group chat a few of us partake in. She was not in agreement with the message, just horrified that someone out there was instigating people to go and ruin another person’s special day.

This morning, apparently a crowd of militants had arrived at the gurdwara, and there was heavy police presence. Despite this, the groom did arrive, and the wedding did take place.

However, my thoughts went the following way…

Who are these people to disrupt another person’s special day?

If the Gurdwara accepted the booking, surely they have no problem with a mixed faith wedding?

How dare they?

I was so glad to hear that the ceremony took place, as it should have done.

It takes months, if not years, to arrange a wedding day, and if there is an issue with a mixed faith wedding happening in a particular place of worship, then that should be addressed at the time of enquiry and booking, not using a lynch mob on the day!

We have heard of this actually happening here a few times, where weddings have had to be cancelled on the day, not due to the couple having problems, but because groups have congregated to protest.

Yes, ideally, a marriage should be of two Sikh individuals in a Gurdwara.

Most Sikh people would say that.

But, in my eyes, if two individuals wish to marry in the Gurdwara, that should be embraced too.

For a Sikh girl, she will have grown up seeing Sikh weddings taking place, and no matter who she falls for, that ideal of a perfect Gurdwara wedding is the same as for Christian brides and their white weddings.

I have seen several mixed faith weddings in gurdwaras over the years, and to be honest, I find that the non-Sikh partner in the couple, is often more knowledgeable about the ceremony, and fully respectful of all the temple asks than the Sikh partner!

Mixed faith partnerships can be hard, but they can also be a beautiful union. We have one in our family with my brother and his Finnish bride, culminating in my Finndian nephew. Both the faiths are upheld and my nephew will be educated in both so he can decide for himself what to follow when he grows up

When they got married, it was a civil ceremony, followed by a Christian blessing, as my sis in law’s cousin is a priest, and a Sikh blessing, conducted by my Pops.

When they came back to England after the wedding, we had special prayers to give them that official blessing in the Gurdwara.

Here, where I live, there have been, in the past, a few mixed faith weddings, before they were ‘banned’ as instructed by the Akal Takht (the powers that be for the Sikh religion in Amritsar, India) in Gurdwaras.

But recently many temples have decided to allow these marriages, as there is a feeling that if they reject the youngsters who want to follow their faith, but marry whoever they love, then our religion will die too.

Our local Gurdwara also decided to allow these weddings to take place. In fact, last year I went to a family wedding there where the bride was Sikh and the groom of mixed race, not Sikh.

Some say that the gurdwaras are just in it for the money, not upholding our faith, after all, they do charge for these functions, and you do pay, quite hansomely, for the pleasure of using the facilities for a wedding.

Honestly, I don’t know what is right or wrong.

But my gut says “Live and Let Live”. It’s not hurting us if someone wishes to marry their love in the gurdwara. If we were being truthful, most of the Sikh couples who do marry in the temples aren’t baptised or true Sikhs either.

They may hold the banner of being Sikh because they were born into a Sikh family, but they may drink, smoke, eat meat, not pray, cut their hair… all things which a true Sikh would not do.

If it were only ‘true’ Sikhs who were allowed to marry in the Gurdwara, then there would be hardly any weddings taking place there. Rather, we would need many more Registry offices to perform civil ceremonies!

Sorry for the total verbal-diarrhea style of this post… But it incenses me to hear of things like this!

So I am off to ‘Zen’ myself. Peace be with you all Peeps!

 

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 76

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“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Reinholt Niebuhr

Warning, it ended up being a long post!

This week I was saddened by an event that happened at my childhood temple.

Some of you who are FB friends may have already read a bit about this, but on Friday, my parents were out and about. They were on the phone to me as they were travelling to the temple to pay their respects. This is a temple that holds many memories for our family. We have been going for over 30 years. Obviously, since I got married, I don’t go as often, but my parents do. In fact, my Pops goes 3-4 times a week.

On this particular evening, when they got there, a ‘security person’ was in place. Nowadays they need security to turn away cars, as the carpark gets closed in the evenings, due to people parking there for reasons not related to the Gurdwara.

My parents were asked, “Are you part of the Jatha?” [Jatha is like a group/army/flock of like-minded Sikhs who go to the temple, and in this case, I believe are fully baptised, or amritdhari]

My parents are not fully baptised, but this doesn’t mean they are not religious.

My Pops said that he has been coming there for many years. All they wanted to do was to pay their respects, then leave. The man continued in the same vein, that if you are not part of the Jatha, you are not allowed in after 8.45pm.

I have never heard this ‘rule’ before, and neither had my parents.

“What do you need to be to be part of the Jatha?” My Pops asked. ” I have never filled in a form, but I believe.”

He even told the man to go ask someone inside… My Pops is known there to all the regulars.

My mum was getting really frustrated. She urged Pops to just leave.

(I was listening to all of this as they hadn’t ended the call.)

A woman came out, and recognising my Pops, said to him, to go in and pay his respects, no one can stop him. Her son was also getting annoyed at the man preventing entry into the Gurdwara.

In the end, Pops asked the man, “Just tell me, will you allow me to come in?”

He repeated, ” Are you part of the Jatha?”

“No,” Pops said, “I asked, yes or no, will you let me in?”

“I say no.”

And that was that. They calmly turned away, and went home.

I was fuming! Our family are known to the temple. The gentleman who is associated as the head of the Jatha is a family friend, and has been lauded publicly by the Queen, and the Pope, and various other associations, for his work with keeping Religious peace. Behaviour like this would damage not only the Gurdwara’s reputation, but his too.

I know this is not his saying or doing.  And rather than playing the “Who I know” card, there should have never been a refusal of entry to anyone to a Gurdwara. It is a place of worship where everyone is welcome. This is the reason why a Gurdwara is meant to have entrances in all four walls, North, South, East and West, to welcome all.

Surely behaviour like this, allowing only amritdhari folk (which I assume is the main criteria for being a member of the Jatha) into the temple at certain times, is totally against the rhetoric, and beliefs of our Gurus?

My mum phoned someone she knew, (part of the Jatha) who was horrified. She phoned Babaji’s, (the main man) wife, who didn’t know anything about this ‘rule’.

My cousin, who is also part of the Jatha called my Pops, to get more details. There was an apology from the gurdwara, and the guy who was at the door was spoken to.

I, of course, popped a post on FB. My Pops was initially upset at me. He didn’t want the Gurdwara to be put to shame. But you know, this wasn’t about the temple, it was about the people who think they can make their own rules. Are they doing some sort of Sikhi cleansing, and only allowing baptised Sikhs in? I was never aware that Gurdwaras had guest lists?

My Pops was initially upset at me. He didn’t want the Gurdwara to be put to shame. But you know, this wasn’t about the temple, it was about the people who think they can make their own rules. Are they doing some sort of Sikhi cleansing, and only allowing baptised Sikhs in? I was never aware that Gurdwaras had guest lists?

Then Pops thought, maybe some good would come of this. We are taught to believe that our Gurus could come, in any form, to our doorstep, be it the temple or home. You should treat all visitors the same. Who knows if Guruji chose a specific form to come to visit your home in? If you treat people the same, there is no worry, but if you differentiate, you are creating the very problem that the Gurus tried to erase, by casting aside the caste system, and creating equality between genders too.

We are taught to believe that our Gurus could come, in any form, to our doorstep, be it the temple or home. You should treat all visitors the same. Who knows if Guruji chose a specific form to come to visit your home in? If you treat people the same, there is no worry, but if you differentiate, you are creating the very problem that the Gurus tried to erase, by casting aside the caste system, and creating equality between genders too.

The Gurdwara management are now holding a meeting on Monday, tomorrow, to discuss this very issue now, on the back of this incident. My Pops has been asked to submit a written report. Apparently, there have been other complaints of a similar nature. If the seniors of the Gurdwara hadn’t enforced this rule, then they need to work out who thought this was a good thing to do, and then nip it in the bud.

I just hope it all gets cleared up. I hate to think that the place I got married in, where I spent a lot of my childhood, will have its memories for me tarnished by an incident like this…

Now for all or you, have a blessed Sunday Peeps! May all your dreams come true!

 

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 48

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“You are that light.

Yours is that light which shines within everyone.”

Guru Nanak Dev Ji – The first Sikh Guru

I know you are not all believers, in any religion, but this particular quote should ring true with all of you who do believe in God.

He is that light. And if you believe in Him, He will shine in you, from you, and for you. In all those moments of darkness, He creates the light that finally leads you to your rightful destination.

Sometimes it is just up to us to actually open our eyes and see that light.

Have a wonderful Sunday Peeps!

My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

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