How not to conduct elections in places of worship

(This is a letter sent to Southall Gurdwara UK, regarding their 2014 elections)

This letter applies to persons associated with, standing for, and campaigning until 28th September 2014 at Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Committee elections in Southall.

I listened in to the radio interview between various party members.

Each and every one of you should be congratulated on your earnest expressions, heartfelt pleas and emotionally charged accusations in a perfect, well-illustrated exposé: on mature men who are nothing more than spoilt little children throwing temper tantrums in order to make their point.

And on top of that, with haughty pride it was claimed that ex-Prime Minister Blair adjudicated between warring parties and that the gurdwara had paid this mass murderer £100,000. This beggars belief.

Sevadarjis, understand one thing. Not a single one of you or your families has an iota of a chance of getting into nor even realising in which direction lies the much sought after ‘suvaarg’. Petty, angry, spoilt, egotistical people do not even get to a point from which directions can be given for their onward purity process.

Last time, I was saddened during the ongoing debacle and infighting during the elections at Shepherds Bush Gurdwara, London, UK. The rest is history.

Please, I implore you that in future all involved conduct the election with mutual appreciation, as all concerned want the best for this institution and its congregation. We all have a common concern, regardless where a Sikh resides globally. We all want a smooth transition of sevadars willing to spend time doing the thankless and routine tasks of running such establishments.

Yes, it is all too easy to mock, find faults and belittle the sevadars who put in voluntary hours in all global religious institutions. However, that is not an excuse to behave like irrational, accusation-throwing, spoilt little children, now, is it?

Furthermore, I am sure none of you behaved in that manner when you were in fact little children. I am also sure all of you were dutiful and well-behaved kids. So what happened once you grew up and learned to wipe your own nose?

I hope all of you are equally ashamed for your behaviour. Rest assured, I certainly was, listening to the broadcast. We are humans. We have a difference of opinions. That does not permit us to accuse each other of actual or (mis)perceived transgressions in a vile and degrading manner.

What, in fact, you are saying is that you are a better judge of the activities of your opponent than Akal-Purkh, who created that Being to behave in that manner and ordained from birth.

Please do seva.

Do not accuse.

No one is a thief.

No one amongst you is a saint either.

Count yourself lucky that you are moved enough and have the time to be involved in seva at a gurdwara.

Remember, for whom-so-ever wins: we are all winners.

Satsiriakaalji

Avtar

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January 2013. Cultism in Sikhi (to Bhai Mohinder Singhji)

Bhai Mohinder Singhji, Gurdwara Nishkam Sewak Jatha (Soho Road, Birmingham)

Revisiting our Interactions 

I hope this communication finds you physically well and emotionally healthy.

(Please note, some of my thoughts below are directly from my books and if they are repeated then kindly reference them to me. The quotes are in italics followed by an *).

The Communiqué: 

Each generation, adhering to nature’s set template, brings forth characters upon whom responsibility is conferred for taking their caste, race, culture, heritage, languages, religion, dharma, morality and ethics forward. Of course ‘forward’ here does not mean positive progression, but indicates movement – and movements can be retrograde.*

I have always kept a low profile and I seldom interact with the general public. This has caused problems, in tandem with state security victimisation. The general public likes intrigue, masala and listening to stories, in order to deflect attention from themselves. Out of self-protectionist need they point fingers at others while ensuring that they are seen to be as pious as can be. This is a standard human self-preservation reaction, and a biological historical phenomenon.* Thus, I am a victim of fanciful stories that are further fuelled by state security; yet, not a single advocate of these stories has to date confronted me about anything. Cowards and story-tellers have one thing in common: imagination.

My role in bringing you to power

It was I who insisted that you must be given the formal head position in an attempt to bring cohesive collective cooperation among UK-based Sikhs. If I had not insisted on that manoeuvre, the UK Sikhs would have endeavored as usual to represent the entire Sikh community, seemingly with one voice, but regrettably with separate outlooks. Interestingly, I was being cajoled into accepting the helm. I would have accepted if I had never tasted positions of immense influence in the global political arena. Personally, with my experience, I would have engaged a different set of skills from within the community, leading to low-key, potent yet effective influence as opposed to the merry-go-round in which the Europeans have you embroiled.

I had a choice between Sant Baba Jaswant Singhji, Clifton Road, Southall; Sant Amar Singh, of Guru Nanak Sikh College, Hayes, Middlesex; and yourself. Sant Amar Singh lacks je ne sais quoi. Sant Jaswant Singhji is advanced and way above this type of nonsense. Which left you.

So, why did I honour you with that post?

Because, in our two meetings you struck me as a very egocentric person, albeit feigning humbleness.

And in the clash with government egos, like needed like.

Yet, in the duty to retain and contain the egos involved in the Sikh Consultative Forum you failed miserably. Nevertheless, I have to thank you for stepping up to the mark. And since I chose you for the task, your failure is my failure. However, only you can measure if you have learned any lessons for your subsequent births.

An observation: not all University Deans make good Professors; not all Professors can teach secondary school; not all secondary school teachers can tend to children in kindergarten. It is not my position to be in your place, and you are not entitled to operate in mine.

Although all of this is in the past, yet the past teaches us the form of the future.

Alien Conquest:

Buddhaji said, ‘An insincere evil friend is to be feared more than a wild beast: a wild beast may wound you today, but an evil friend will wound your mind’.

In a speech I added this: ‘Where ignorance reigns, peace slaves’.* Both the above statements are true for the following.

The British and Europeans did not conquer Bharat by outright brutal force. They conquered it via smiles, gentle words, never-ending compliments and ego-massage. They wooed and admired the egos of the Rajas and the Maharajas, and above all else they beguiled the dharmic and the adhyatmic sectors with unbridled compliments about how the west has so much to learn from the east. In the process, the western powers invited the chosen influential few to on-going seminars organised by one world-famous philosophical society after another. Given prestige to speak and present an article at such societies the innocent egos waxed lyrical, becoming ever-pliant puppets. The seduction paid dividends.* 

The eastern target-ego had admirers from his own race and culture who latched on to the ‘open mind’ of the western thought process. These admirers of the target-ego spoke to their own catchment audiences. And in time an entire state became compliant to western propaganda. Like today, a war was arranged between a slightly more powerful opponent and the impressionable state. The impressionable state was given support, at a cost. Aryadesh fought Aryadesh. The British picked up the spoils.* 

So what has all this got to do with you?

I was called forward by, and took amrit from the hand of Sant Baba Puran Singhji at Makindo, Kenya. And I can assure you, you were not in that initial contingent. So, I am well within my responsibility to tell you off resoundingly. And after almost thirty years of being a recipient of mocking derision from you and your ‘cult followers’ telling you off is precisely what I am going to do…

1. Selling out your prestige & position

My observation is that you obviously have zero appreciation of what precisely a Sikh is, let alone what it is to qualify as Khalsa. If you did, it would have and should have been you presenting to the Christian Church a fake ego-massaging medal, an honour of merit, with the prospect of eventually influencing their followers into Sikhi and Indianisation. But instead you were the recipient, they the overlords,

Do you realise how much of a public relations coup d’etat this event is for the west and for the Christian faith’s propaganda machine? Subliminally you have created and substantiated a reality wherein a Sikh and Khalsa’s own inherent value is trumped by deriving value from securing an order of merit or some other such award from the Christian faith. How utterly despicably low and ignorant an act could you have allowed yourself to become a puppet of?

Shame on you for selling out your prestige and position.

Are all of your companions in fact enemies who have zero respect for you, unprepared to warn you of the consequences of your action? If they are naive and gullible then at least you should have enough commonsense not to accept such western propaganda awards. Or are you really that hungry for western public applause?

2. Withholding Deg through your acolytes (sorry, “sevadars”)

It took Gursharan Kaur and me nine years to finish our respective sets of 108 Sahaj Paaths. Every month we’d drive a 250 mile round trip to pay homage at Soho Road Gurdwara. Every month after the first few months you ordered your ‘staff’ not to serve us langar or water. I wrote to you about the matter. The next month they served us. I wrote again thanking you. But things reverted back. On top of that, two of your ‘staff’ (they cannot be called sevadars) steadfastly refused to serve me Deg every time they were on duty. That elderly man with the red braces who used to clean sangat’s footwear – he used to pick up both our pairs of footwear and put them beside by the door for the sangat to trample on. What humbleness.

3. Cult of personality: or cutting off your nose to spite your face

And here is the best part. I introduced to you a young girl who was about to start her PhD and I informed you that this girl was going to, if given the right input, rewrite India’s constitution, thereby changing all non-European constitutions globally for the better. And your advice was that she should get herself a job and then consider the PhD. Now where does the point that you claim clairvoyance fall apart?

The reason why you told her to get a job and leave post-graduate research was because she was not part of your ‘cult’. Shame on you.

4. The cosy club of arrogance & primeval judgement

Two weeks ago I rang your office at Soho Road Nishkam Sevak Gurdwara to be told that you were abroad. I sought information about Mandiwale Babaji, to be told that in all honesty XXX would be the best person to ask. XXX, the living hypocrite, spoke harshly, claiming that only you can give out such information. To put him in his place I shared with him that the photograph of Mandiwale Babaji was taken by the younger brother of Pritam Singh Sandhu of Walthamstow, East London, and that my family and I had been present there at the time. This threw him and abruptly he told me he was busy and put the phone down on me. How very magnanimous.

The person who needed that information is writing a book on past Sikh Sants and holds you and your ‘cult’ in low opinion. XXX behaviour adds to, and underlines the hypocrisy of, white clothes hiding dark minds. Interestingly, XXX – who was forced to apologise when I challenged him for saying very derogatory things about me – now faces a dilemma. His close, high-profile, married-with-grown-kids female relative has her sex movies and photos on the internet. Now is he going to run her and her husband down as he did me? Both of you have forgotten, the moment you take amrit you no longer judge or condemn people at all. In fact you support them through thick and thin. You protect them from public vilification*. But what do you lot do after amrit? You create a holier than thou cosy club of arrogance and primeval judgement. 

I have yet to come across a group of Sikhs who are as frightened as your ‘cult’ is. Yes, there are the odd things your ‘cult’ does correctly, but just the odd thing.

Narcissistic, cliché-ridden, floating on faux modesty via self-promotion, unable to separate the pseudo from the primordial rigidity, caught in fetish ritual, with hallowed attachment to opaque religiosity, and losing dharma’s gentle optimism.* Your cult summed up in a nutshell. Congratulations.

I gave a talk about twenty years ago to balance the inflated image-integrity of Sikhs. I stated that western-based Sikhs would form cults. That they would take and retain passport photographs of those who took amrit at their cult-quarters, and claim responsibility to the European authorities for only those persons.

You have done precisely that.

Once upon a time one Sikh stood for all Sikhs. It was the case ‘one for all – all for one’. But you, the Europeanised ‘cult’ Sikh leaders are a creed apart.  What Guru Gobind Singhji harmonised, you the Europeanised ‘cult’ Sikh leaders are ripping apart.

Please pat yourself on your back for dividing the Khalsa.

The enemy is always within. Never without.

5. Yet again with the cultish behaviour

Here is another example of your ‘cult’ mentality A young girl started Sikh Sports Car Mela. I joined that Mela as I have two sports cars, and as soon as you heard I was a participant you froze her out totally. Very mature of you.

6. Plagiarising my insights as your own

Secondly, it was I who wrote to you several decades ago about how Rabindranath Tagore removed Guru Nanakdevji’s name from Japuji  Sahibji replacing it with Kabir. Harbans Singh Doabia plagiarized his translation in his now famous translations.

You took my insight and passed it on to a Panjab based university who carried out their study of the matter. They concluded what I had said. You and that university took all the credit for this ‘information’ and ignored to neither mention nor applaud me for my insight.

You will publicly and in written format acknowledge that it was my letter to you that instigated that study.

Accolades bring responsibility:

Now, using your new accolade, please correct the following:

There are five mistakes on each page of Sri Guru Granth Sahibji. There are eighteen types of mistakes recurring in the entire work. The British have imposed these mistakes on Sikhs. These mistakes were not placed into the original work by either the Hindus nor the Muslims.*  

Yes, it does, does it not, compromise your new accolade!

Accolades are easy to accept if you do not understand the ongoing cultural ramification of the accolade. A budding poet asked a known writer to appraise his poetry. The established writer replied there was nothing wrong, adding. ‘although I have not read this and as a rule do not read poetry’.

As a budding newbie straddling religion and political you will distaste the art of manipulation and a sense of ‘being used’ by your new masters.

In conclusion: 

  1. You will forward to me by post all details about Mandiwale Babaji forthwith.
  2. You will return the merit order nonsense with due respect, stating that Guru Nanakdevji is not answerable to Jesus of Nazareth.

And if they want clarification regarding upon whose authority you are returning the said order, tell them it is upon my direct and explicit instructions. They know me well enough not to take the issue up with me.

The only reason you will not return the order of merit? Your ego.

I was brought up, and you were not, to deal with the European manipulations to which you have fallen victim. Thus, you fail to see the traps of their long-game.

Bhai Mohinder Singhji, time has shown that the following is just: That I am an unaffiliated speaker and original, independent thinker on theology, philosophy, psychology, dharma and spiritual matters. I am coming out into the open slowly and you have a choice. Support me, by not speaking out against me or manipulating others to do your dirty work. You and I will never get along at a personal level. But at a dharmic level henceforth you will support me totally, unless your ego gets in the way.

Buddhaji reminds us: ‘Prime purpose in life is to help others. And if you cannot help them, at least do not hurt them either’.

I wish you and your cult every success for the future and please accept from a Sikh of Guru Nanakdevji and a Singh of Guru Gobind Singhji a respectfully extended – to you and your followers – heartfelt Bhole Sohne Haal Sat Siri Akaal.

Avtar