Saturday, September 26, 2015

Equality vs. Reality

In Sikhi, we are taught that women and men are equivalent. But the real life of Punjabi culture is much different and I think many people don’t realize what they have done to their sisters and their daughters. 

From the time of a woman’s pregnancy, everyone wishes for her to have a baby boy. And when the child is born, they will hand out ladoos, if it’s a boy. The boy grows up being told that no matter what he does, he’s the best, he’s perfect and HE matters above anyone else in this world. If he does something wrong, they look the other way. “He’s our boy, he wouldn’t do anything wrong.” The expectations of the boy are that he is going to take care of the parents and bring them grandchildren. So when he is done dating however many girls he wants for fun, he can marry the traditional girl. The one who stays home and cooks and cleans and gives birth to a baby boy. The one who is obedient and she better not be confident or have an attitude or her own goals. She better not have had her own relationships. In every action you have told him he is better than her. Fed him with a silver spoon- he didn’t have to work hard, everything was handed to him and this makes him overjoyed. He realizes how good he has it and he won’t give it up. He will ask the girl to give up everything for him because he is more important than her. Her life is not of value to him. 

So what about the girl? That girl grows up her whole life with the expectation that her only purpose in life is to look good, get married and have babies. What happened to her goals, HER dreams, her independence? You have taught her to be dependent on someone else. To look to him for happiness. To look to him to solve her problems. To have him control her whole life. That’s abuse, not equality. I was raised in a family where my mother taught me I’m equal. People ask me “when are you getting married?” And let me respond. That’s not my goal in life. I was taught to have my own dreams. A woman needs independence, a career of my own to do sewa in the world. My goal is to become a doctor and save lives. My value is not tied to getting married and having kids. My value is not tied to someone else telling me I’m beautiful and worthy. I am not dependent on anyone telling me how to feel or act. Girls out there, your body is the vessel to your soul and your soul is the part that you should focus on. Knowing that you are the daughter of the Guru! That you deserve the utmost respect. You don’t deserve for someone to tell you what to do and how to live your life. You don’t deserve for someone to tell you that your goals are less than his. And the whole world will say it- your goals don’t matter. But God has made you a perfect soul. You ARE enough. Focus on Naam Japo, Vand Shako, Kirat Karo. Live your life right. 

I’m not saying that girls shouldn’t get married but I AM saying it should be on HER terms and there shouldn't be an expectation of marriage. I’m saying it shouldn’t be her only purpose. I’m saying you shouldn’t get married because you’re feeling the pressure of being “too old.” You shouldn’t settle. You should know that the only real relationship in this world is with God and that you have an unending ocean of love, peace and happiness within you if you work on that relationship. It’s not easy to follow that path.

Teach your daughter she is worthy. Tell her to get an education. Teach your daughter she should have the life she deserves. Teach your son to respect her. That means to treat her equal. To put value in her goals. To put value in her dreams. To treat her as more than just a body but as a fellow soul in this journey to God. That is true Sikhi. 

According to the ratio of females to males is 846 females per 1000 males (age 0-6) in the state of Punjab in 2011. This is the second worst state in all of india for a disproportionate sex ratio! This shows us where our values lie for women. Its up to us to change that.

Am I worthy? Am I good enough?

Almost everyone asks themselves this question at some point. And it seems once you get stuck in this pattern of thinking, it can be hard to get out. The problem is, you have placed your self-worth outside of yourself.
I’ve heard things like “you’ll never make it.” Over and over. “Quit now, give up.” There are people out there who do not wish for you to succeed in this life. They are constantly trying to break apart your successes so they can feel better about themselves. But this isn’t about them. It’s about how you let their words get inside your head and internalize it. It’s about how you turn their comments into a comment about your worth. And how you have a choice of not letting them affect you. People can flat out say that you aren’t good enough to your face, but it doesn’t have to affect the way you see yourself.
Your self-worth is not in your actions. It’s not in your failures or successes. It’s not outside of you. Speaking from experience, no matter how many awards you could win, you could still have a poor sense of self-worth. It’s about what’s inside you, telling you that you are worthy. It’s the thoughts in your head that tell yourself the truth. The truth is that you have a beautiful soul. That this is a piece of God. That YOU, reading this post, are worthy because God is giving you un-ending love. Has given you a human life, has given you many gifts. Has given you the whole world! How could you consider yourself un-worthy? You are good enough for simply being here. You don’t need to be the best at something. You don’t need to impress people. Tell yourself “Dear soul, I am perfect. God created me the way that I am. May I be thankful each day. I don’t need anyone else to tell me. I don’t need anyone else’s approval because I have Yours.”  

It’s not an easy process to overcome and it usually doesn’t happen in one day. It takes time to change your thinking and establish self-confidence so that no matter what someone tells you, you know it’s not true and that you are worthy of having your dreams come true. You are worthy of love, peace and happiness. You are worthy of having a good life.
Gold is still gold, no matter what you throw at it. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tum Sio Jori

Shabad Sachee Preet Hum Tum Sio Jori

Translation Provided by

If You are the mountain, Lord, then I am the peacock.

If You are the moon, then I am the partridge in love with it. ||1||

O Lord, if You will not break with me, then I will not break with You.

For, if I were to break with You, 
with whom would I then join? ||1||Pause||

If You are the lamp, then I am the wick.

If You are the sacred place of pilgrimage, then I am the pilgrim. ||2||

I am joined in true love with You, Lord.

 I am joined with You, 
and I have broken with all others. ||3||

Wherever I go, there I serve You.

There is no other Lord Master than You, O Divine Lord. ||4||

Meditating, vibrating upon You, the noose of death is cut away.

To attain devotional worship, Ravi Daas sings to You, Lord. ||5||5||

Kab Gal Lavenge Shabad

Shabad Kab Gal Lavenge

Kalyaan, Fourth Mehl:

O God, Treasure of Mercy, please bless me, 
that I may sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord.

I always place my hopes in You; O God, 
when will you take me in Your Embrace? ||1||Pause||

I am a foolish and ignorant child; Father, please teach me!

Your child makes mistakes again and again, 
but still, You are pleased with him, O Father of the Universe. ||1||

Whatever You give me, O my Lord and 
Master - that is what I receive.

There is no other place where I can go. ||2||

Those devotees who are pleasing to the Lord
 - the Lord is pleasing to them.

Their light merges into the Light; the lights 
are merged and blended together. ||3||

The Lord Himself has shown mercy; 
He lovingly attunes me to Himself.

Servant Nanak seeks the Sanctuary of the 
Door of the Lord, who protects his honor. ||4||6|| One Chhakaa||

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lessons for life

A few months ago I started watching a program called "Awakening with Brahma Kumaris: Being Bliss" on youtube which features Sister Shivani talking about various topics in life. She has shared many peaces of spiritual wisdom which we can incorporate into our lives. I thought I would share some translations of basic topics she has shared on these programs and I believe is in line with our sikhi lifestyle. I don't take credit for these, I'm just sharing them so other people can expand their knowledge too. 

1. As you think, so you write your destiny. Your happiness is your own creation. We tend to make our happiness conditional on achievements, etc. and when obstacles get in the way, we say our happiness is ruined. But obstacles blocked the achievement, not your ability to be happy.  Don’t give power to the situations in your life (“I am angry because of…”) or you are creating dependency on the outside world. When I say you irritate me, I am trying to control your actions because I can’t instruct my own mind to remain stable. After all, is the bag of chips making noise the irritation, or the thoughts I created? We need to focus on our own thoughts. Don't become dependent on others, think "I am the creator of my own thoughts and you are the creator of your own thoughts” which frees you from emotional blackmail, guilt and manipulation because I realize how you feel is YOUR choice and I do not make you happy. No matter what someone said, this thought is damaging me and I can’t afford to hold onto it. 

2. You have everything you are looking for in the world. Say you have a white kurta pajama (top and pants) and you play in the dirt. It turns brown but it still IS a WHITE kurta pajama underneath. Similarly the soul is made of 7 qualities: purity, peace, power, wisdom, love, happiness, and bliss, and these are my original color. I don’t need to find them outside because I AM them underneath all these layers. Remember also that God is our parent, and whatever belongs to Him is automatically ours. You don’t need to ask for love because you already have an endless ocean of love. Nothing needs to happen externally for you to find what you are looking for.

She has shared a lot more topics and I encourage you to check them out and apply them to your life! Some episodes are in Hindi and some are in english. In particular, she addresses how to change our thinking patterns to change our lives.