1. All humanity is one.
*Sikhs recite daily, “All humanity is one”, in their prayers; but don’t follow it in their lives. Sikhs are classified into sub-groups on caste basis: farmers (Jats), businessmen (Kashtriyas/Aroras), craftsmen (Ramgariahs), and lower-caste Sikhs (Majhabi Sikhs). The marriages are invariably within the same sub-group. This is obvious from matrimonial advertisements. Old traditions are changing, albeit too slowly. Money power or sheer economics will decide the social interaction in future.
2. Sikhs believe: (a) Remember God always, (b) Live with honest earning, (c) Share meals with poor, and (d) Earmark 10% earnings for poor.
*A Sikh contributes generously for construction/renovation of Sikh temples (gurudwaras), publication of religious literature, and towards community meals. Sikhs are an enterprising community. They buy old Church buildings in US, which are not in use and convert these into gurudwaras.
3. Intake of liquor and tobacco not permitted.
*Unfortunately majority of Sikhs like to drink. A social function is failure, if drinks are not served. However, restriction on smoking is willingly abided by majority of Sikhs. A large percentage of Sikh farmers in Punjab indulge in drugs like opium.
4. Treat women equally.
*It is literally disobeyed in a traditional Sikh mindset. The gender ratio among Sikhs in 2001 in India was 893 females per thousand males. Birth of a male child is a welcome event. Female infanticide is rampant, although predetermination of embryo sex is illegal in India and punishable by law. Due to shortage of Sikh girls for marriage, non-Sikh girls are procured/purchased from neighbouring states in India.
*Among affluent Sikh families, women are better off. They are ambitious and self-reliant – thus a higher divorce rate prevails.
5. Control: Lust, Anger, Attachment, Greed, and Ego in the mind.
*It is easier said than done. We always have an excuse — only saints can win over these negative traits — to justify our inability to discard these vices. Sikhism states that it is possible to overcome these negative traits even when we are living with our family in society.
6. Never forget death.
*Accept that we are all temporary residents in this world — destined to die at God’s will. Let there be no news — of happiness or grief, rewards or punishment, gains or loss, and respect or condemnation in society — which can perturb peace of our mind. A good-news or a bad-news, should have same impact on us.
*We all subconsciously believe that we will not die in the near future and we have a long life ahead. We love life and want to enjoy. We need money and wealth. We can even cheat our relations or friends to acquire or control wealth or property of others. Sikhs too, are normal human beings with the inbuilt imperfections. We are pious in behaviour, if we remember death.
7. Be a good human being, to qualify to stay with God.
*A soul enters a new body, after death. It is an honour when we are born as a human being, the pinnacle of God’s creation of 8.4 million species. If we live a pious life, God will accept us permanently in His abode — the goal of all souls. If we are devilish, our soul enters the body of other species in animal kingdom. The soul keeps moving from one body to another after death. The birth/death cycle continues, till God finds us good enough to live with Him in His abode.
8. Maintain unique appearance: Don’t cut hair and beard.
There was a reason in 18th century, which necessitated the Sikh guru to ordain: Sikhs will not cut hair. Muslim rulers had declared cash awards for Sikh-heads, as Sikhs were rebels. Sikhs had no unique appearance till then and when questioned by the Muslim soldiers,” Are you a Sikh?”, they denied. The unique appearance ensured that only courageous persons accepted Sikh religion, as with new appearance they would not be able to say that they were not Sikhs.
*Now the scenario has changed and younger generation of Sikhs question relevance of Guru’s dictates issued 300 years ago.
*Unfortunately, Sikhs and perpetrators of 9/11 resemble closely. Now Sikhs have to educate US citizens, that they are different. It is an essential, arduous task. Sikhs don’t want repetition of Wisconsin Sikh Temple killings episode.
9. Go to religious places to purify your soul, but idol worship is not allowed.
* Sikhs visit religious places. A visit to the Golden Temple at Amritsar is a must in a Sikh’s life. The goal is to seek God’s blessings to enhance positive traits and curtail negative traits. We take bath in the holy pond, listen the spiritual hymns, and the pilgrimage is complete. It is more Sikhs treat the holy book with reverence, but the respect is akin to idol worship. They cover the holy book in winter with blanket — an irrational activity.
10. Sikhs aim is: Be a pure and perfect human beings (Khalsa).
Sikhism is a great religion. Every Sikh aims to become a perfect human being: a Khalsa — in Punjabi language. To reach that goal Sikhs have to do a lot: understand the scriptures and apply the guidelines in the life. It is not impossible, but not an easy task.