Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Eyes Of The Guru

I saw a programme on BBC1 today about Monty Panesar, the first Sikh to play in the England cricket team. Interestingly I found that whenever the camera zoomed in on his face when he was being interviewed, he had the most deep and soft brown eyes. Very nice eyes. It reminded me that Punjabi people in general tend to have very nice eyes, emotional eyes.

I then started thinking about how Sri Guru Gobind Singh must have looked, and I think he might have looked quite similar. He would have had very beautiful eyes anyway. It must have been a great wonder to be in his presence.

I have thought often about Sikhism. Being a Sindhi, it is notable that the Sindhis have a very close connection to the Sikhs and the Ten Gurus. Sindhis believe in the Ten Gurus (with emphasis on Guru Nanak) and think nothing of visiting gurdwaras to take part in worship services, what to speak of visiting Amritsar and seeing the beautiful Golden Temple. I have visited my local gurdwara for years on Sundays, though I cannot claim to be in complete knowledge about particular aspects of the Sikh faith. There are some aspects which I find slightly disturbing when comparing it with my Vaishnava faith, but I found it incredibly striking that 98% of the names used for God in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib are names of Krishna!

I would definitely like to visit Amritsar one day and see the Harimandir there. See, there's another one: the Golden Temple is actually called 'Harimandir', the temple of Hari, who is none other than Vishnu/Krishna. There is a prophecy somewhere in the Sikh canon that states that the Kalki avatar will visit the Harimandir. I thought that was interesting. According to Sri Rupa Gosvami (?), the Kalki avatar will be saktyavesa-avatar anyway.

Long ago I spoke to a Sikh friend who asked me the question: 'Who was the founder of Sikhism?' Naturally I replied 'Guru Nanak', who was the first of the Ten Gurus and was a very charismatic saint whose hymns and bhajans make up a significant part of the Sikh scripture. He said no, and that the founder was actually Guru Gobind Singh. Seeing my look of puzzlement he pointed out that whereas it was true that Guru Nanak founded the spiritual basis of Sikhism, it was actually Guru Gobind Singh who institutionalised it and provided all the rules and regulations to organise it into a system and to provide a distinct identity for it's followers. That has stuck with me ever since,

I used to have a couple of Sikh dagger-keychains on my keyring, but it got lost. I was disappointed at that as I thought it looked pretty cool. Maybe I'll get another dagger-keychain, both a single-edge and a double-edged sword.

I definitely need to brush up on my Sikhism. I have a book on the life of Sri Guru Gobind Singh which I've never got around to reading. The main problem is that wth all the work and university coursework that I have to do, I barely have time to keep up with my Vaishnava readings! They must be having great fun on Vilasa Kunja and I feel bad about not being there, but the study groups around a certain scripture involves a certain amount of commitment to the project. Not to fear, I'll soon be able to get back into the game and enjoy the benefits of sadhu-sanga again. For now I can just surf the web to find a picture of Sri Guru Gobind Singh with beautiful eyes.


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