People say never talk about religion (or politics) because everyone has their own beliefs and opinions and it always ends in an argument. Keeping this in mind, here are some end of the year thoughts on all religions to consider coming into the New Year, 2014:
Catholicism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Confucianism, Buddhism, Seventh-Day Adventist, Mormonism, however you were raised or whatever religion you have chosen as a vehicle to help you on your path to a higher place, should be respected and not judged. So much of religion has to do with location and where we were born into the world, geographically. This is sometimes lost in the bigger picture of things and definitely complicates our political differences.
Lets try together globally in 2014 to learn more about one another around the world and accept each other for who we are as well as our differences. There are similarities with many religions and beliefs that people would be surprised to learn about. It is really quite interesting and empowering to learn about other cultures, traditions and languages. More and more our society is becoming multi cultural and globally in tune. As we continue to grow and understand we can learn that our differences are sometimes more similar than we thought.
I was very upset to hear the news about this hate crime that happened last weekend. A hateful mob attacked a Sikh man who says he was mistaken for a radical Muslim. This is unacceptable. Teachers and parents must educate their kids on the religious differences in our community and the diversity in the world. As the Daily News, DNAinfo and BuzzFeed have reported, a Sikh-American Columbia University Professor was beaten in a hate crime this past Saturday while the suspects yelled “Osama”. Any citizen should have the freedom to dress as they wish and be accepted for it. Especially if it has to do with their religious beliefs. This is America, Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Yes, Osama Bin Ladin was a bad guy, a terrorist and he did horrible things and was punshed and killed. This has nothing to do with an innocent American, doctor and professor who is part of our community and an educator at one of the top Unniversities in the country. This is the sort of story you may expect to read from a back woods unnecducated small town in the midwest or unfortunately small areas down south where racism, predudice and ignorance still exists. But not in a comopolitan, multi racial, well educated and worldly city such as new york. We are smarter than this. Come on people! It is the parents and teachers and communities responsibility to educate our children. This should not have happened and it should never happen again. The gentleman who was attacked, Dr. Prabhjot Singh was quoted in BuzzFeed as saying “This is my community, I live in Harlem, I see patients here,” he says. “It’s not the side of Harlem I’ve come to know and not how I’ve been embraced.”
In the Daily News they report that “Columbia University professor Prabhjot Singh has written about violence toward Sikhs in America — and on Saturday was the target of a vicious assault just blocks from his Harlem home.”
The attack is under investigation by the Hate Crimes Task Force says the New York Police Department. BuzzFeed writes: Dr. Prabhjot Singh, a Columbia University professor, had just dropped his wife and his 1-year-old son off at home on Saturday night when he went for a short walk with his friend to the north of Central Park in Harlem, he explains. They were walking past a group of 25 to 30 young men, many of whom had bikes, when he heard, “Get him!” as well as “Osama” and “terrorist” being yelled. This is when the Professor was knocked to the ground and punched repeatedly in the face and head which left him with an injured jaw, a lacerated lip and badly bruised until bystanders finally came to his aid.
The criminals in this beating need to be found and prosecuted.
Sikhism considers spiritual life and secular life to be intertwined: “In the Sikh Weltanschauung…the temporal world is part of the Infinite Reality and partakes of its characteristics.” Guru Nanak described living an “active, creative, and practical life” of “truthfulness, fidelity, self-control and purity” as being higher than a purely contemplative life.
The 6th Sikh Guru Guru Hargobind re-affirmed that the political/temporal (Miri) and spiritual (Piri) realms are mutually coexistent. According to the 9th Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadhur, the ideal Sikh should have both Shakti (power that resides in the temporal), and Bhakti (spiritual meditative qualities). This was developed into the concept of the Saint Soldier by the 10th Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh.
Protecting the religious and political rights of all people and preventing discrimination is an integral part of the Sikh faith. The 5th Guru Arjan was martyred by the Mughal ruler Jahangir on 16 May 1606 for refusing to convert to Islam. The martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur9th Guru to protect Hindus from religious persecution, in Delhi, on 11 November 1675 AD, is another example of upholding minority religious freedom; he gave his life to protect the right of Kashmiri Hindus to practise their own religion when they were being forced to convert to Islam by Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor at the time.
According to Guru Nanak, the goal is to attain the “attendant balance of separation-fusion, self-other, action-inaction, attachment-detachment, in the course of daily life”, the polar opposite to a self-centered existence. Nanak talks further about the one God or Akal (timelessness) that permeates all life). and which must be seen with ‘the inward eye’, or the ‘heart’, of a human being.
Guru Nanak was the founder of Sikhism. Guru Nanak summarised the basis of Sikh lifestyle as: Kirat Karo, Naam Japo and Wand kay Chako, which means work diligently and honestly, meditate on the holy name (Waheguru), and share the fruits of labours with others. The idea that human beings must work for a living and play an active role in society is the basis of this philosophy. The guiding principles of the Sikh faith are Truth, Equality, Freedom and Justice.
The Sikhs revere Guru Granth Sahib as their supreme teacher, ‘Guru’ means the enlightener. The tenth Guru ended the line of personal Gurūs and transferred his authority to the dual agency of the Sikh scripture Gurū Graṅth Sāhib and to the Guru Khalsa (also Panth). The Panth or the community of followers was to be the physical manifestation of the Gurū, while the Guru Graṅth was to be the scriptural guide for this body of Sikhs.
Sikhism is an extremely pluralistic religion. The Guru Granth Sahib, in addition to the revelations of the Sikh gurus, contains revelations of various saints and sages of that period. The Mul Mantar, the opening hymn of the holy Guru Granth Sahib, expounds the nature and attributes of God:
There is one supreme eternal reality; the truth; immanent in all things; creator of all things; imminent in creation. Without fear and without hatred; not subject to time; beyond birth and death; self-revealing. Known by the Guru’s grace.
*Photo at the top of this post from BuzzFeed Via blogs.ei.columbia.edu
America’s greatest cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, now stands open for the public to view in it’s full glory. It is located on Amsterdam and 112 th St. right here in Harlem. Since the fire of December 2001 only sections of the Church have been open to the public. Now seven years and $41.5 million dollars later, St. Johns is fully renovated and is truly a magnificent sight to see. Make sure you checkout the adjacent Garden and sculpture.
When visiting a $5.00 to $10.00 donation is recommended but not inforced. There is normally a 5 PM mass held every evening. For additional information go to firstname.lastname@example.org