Harjeet Kaur came to Aden Bowman Collegiate and spoke to two groups of students about the ideas and values of Sikhism. The religion was founded in the late-1400’s in Northern India and has proliferated globally since. The presentation primarily addressed the ways Sikhism has developed since its founding, and what that means for those of us that follow Sikhism as well as those who have been graced with the wholesome ideas that Sikhism brings to other cultures and societies.
Harjeet made it clear that “although apparently many, Sikhism is about the unity of mankind.” The point of her presentation was the importance of unity above all else; Sikhism is founded on the basis that nothing can differentiate the beings on this earth. Harjeet’s second point was that Sikhism, when stripped down, is very similar to most other North American religions that we have come to accept. For example, Christianity values virtues like honesty, forgiveness, patience, faithfulness, and kindness. Sikhism upholds many of the same morals, which makes sense as most religions would think highly of these moral values. Where Sikhism varies from these religions is the premise that one cannot be balanced without having equal parts spiritual and physical authority. According to Sikhism, one cannot become enlightened while devoting themselves completely to a religion; they must remain planted in their physical plane while maintaining a meaningful touch with their spiritual plane. Sikhism is an all-encompassing way of life that involves every aspect of our plane of existence, not just spirituality.
Sikhism varies slightly from other religions in their form of worship. Meditation and prayers are directed towards God, but this god can not take a human form and the purpose of God is solely for creation. God cares and tends to all that pertains to creation in this world, although the values and virtues of the religion are expressed in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh scripture that contains the work of past Sikh Gurus and Holy Men). The last human Guru declared that the scripture be his permanent successor, meaning that the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the head of the religion. Other than having a unique structure, Sikhism remains very similar to most well-known religions. The reason I keep comparing Sikhism to common religions in North America is because that is how Harjeet Kaur described it to her audience. While I am not a religious person, I appreciated that Harjeet could help me understand something foreign by making relevant comparisons to something familiar.
While the entire presentation was an eye-opening experience for me, the fact that Sikhism is truly the experience and commitment to human equality was particularly noteworthy. The religion offers an open perspective that accommodates for a multi-cultural society, which is consistent with the values emphasized in Canadian culture. Harjeet mentioned a hall Sikh people call a Langar, which is where everybody, of any religion, ethnicity, class, or gender, can go and get a free meal. All meals in this hall are made by volunteers. For whatever reason, this continues to stick out to me as a wonderful show of acceptance on behalf of the Sikh people. I am thankful for having the opportunity to attend this presentation and learning about how much Sikhism offers in terms of equality and encouraging virtue and honouring moral commitments.
By: CARSON REYNOLDS