Bana - as practiced in Sikhi

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Bana - as practiced in Sikhi

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From: Devinder2 8/3/04

I've always found the awe of the so-called bana most peculiar, especially the SD/3HO fettish for the colour white. The only "dress" requirement for a (baptised) Sikh is a kashera and, as a corollary to the discipline of kesh, combed and tied hair on the head covered with something appropriate (a turban being the conventional norm for men, and a chuni or scarf for women). Other than that, dressing simply and modestly would be in keeping with the spirit of Sikhism but there is nothing specified.

The essence of Guru ji's teaching on matters of diet, dress, conduct, and so on, is given in a series of statements that all sound very similar early on in the Guru Granth Sahib (I can't remember the page number off hand): the bottom line is that we should avoid eating, drinking, wearing, doing, ....., those things that either hurt our body physically or make us forget God (i.e. make our minds wander to places where it's better not to go, and thereby hurt us mentally). By these criteria, there will be somethings that are common for all and others that are very individual.

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Re: Bana - as practiced in Sikhi

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From: RoseLotus1 8/3/04

Thanks Devinder. You are an excellent culture bridger.

What role does the color white play in Indian/Punjabi culture? I know it is a funeral color in China; red is the wedding color there. In this culture white is the wedding color and the doctor/nurse and lab. technician color. Clearly we USAers turned 3HOers all perceived it to be a spiritual color as well, though nuns/monks and the Amish etc. wear black in the West.

I am trying to think of any other group, besides medical, whose members wear all white.

The Ku Klux Klan is the only one coming to mind.....

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Re: Bana - as practiced in Sikhi

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From: Devinder2 8/3/04

Having grown up in England, I'm not very good on my Punjabi/Indian cultural significance of the colours. Besides, some of my friends accuse me of being colour blind (which I'm not, at least in a medical sense)!

I know red is traditional for the bride and groom at weddings, but I'm not sure about the others (I don't usually pay too much attention to traditions, unless I feel like it). White is a common colour in India, but that may be due to its reflective properties in a hot climate. It's also useful for encouraging cleanliness because even a small amount of muck stands out; perhaps that's why the medical profession use it. ..... Usually, it's the older members of Punjabi society that wear white clothes (especially turbans); the youngsters prefer more colourful attire.

Reference is made to colours in Gurbani but, as is often the case, I think its use is by way of analogy and metaphor. For example, I remember a line: "Lal rung tis ko laga jis ke wudpaga; mela keday na hovee, no lage dhaga." Guru ji says that only those who are Blessed are dyed in the colour red; it neither gets dirty and nor is it spoiled by any stain. So it sounds like a statement about Divine love and union to me, which is only attained through the Grace of the Almighty.

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Re: Bana - as practiced in Sikhi

Post by Archivist1 »

From: dharm18

Ahh , a voice of reason....not a big commodity in 3ho.
I hadnt been around long when i figured the white thing was YB's personality, and NOT my reality. I gave in at times(for a woman who was into it, and because as an employee at their gurdwara, there was strong pressure to wear it.)
Initially on duty i wore a royal blue dress with no churidars, i wore my surfer shorts instead of kuchas under-and my legs were bare as they are in india.
At some point into my tenure i was told i had to wear churidars on duty all year(i only wore in winter).
My objection that bare legs are standard in india , was met with youre at a 3ho gurdwara and this is what we wear. I admit it looks sharper but is entirely unpractical in hot weather.

Devinder do you know what the three colours allowed by SGPC( or whatever their initials are...) for the granthi at Harimandirsahib are ?

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Re: Bana - as practiced in Sikhi

Post by Archivist1 »

From: dharm18

Ahh , a voice of reason....not a big commodity in 3ho.
I hadnt been around long when i figured the white thing was YB's personality, and NOT my reality. I gave in at times(for a woman who was into it, and because as an employee at their gurdwara, there was strong pressure to wear it.)
Initially on duty i wore a royal blue dress with no churidars, i wore my surfer shorts instead of kuchas under-and my legs were bare as they are in india.
At some point into my tenure i was told i had to wear churidars on duty all year(i only wore in winter).
My objection that bare legs are standard in india , was met with youre at a 3ho gurdwara and this is what we wear. I admit it looks sharper but is entirely unpractical in hot weather.

Devinder do you know what the three colours allowed by SGPC( or whatever their initials are...) for the granthi at Harimandirsahib are ?

Archivist1

Re: Bana - as practiced in Sikhi

Post by Archivist1 »

From: Devinder2

I have to confess that I wasn't even aware that only three (or certain) colours were allowed officially; I'd always assumed that white, black, blue, saffron, etc., were just popular by convention. Anyway, I'll ask a few people and get back to you if I manage to find out.

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Re: Bana - as practiced in Sikhi

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From: RoseLotus1 8/5/04

Many many Sikhs I encounter are as far away from being woo-woo as someone raised in the West can possibly imagine a "religious" person to be. Sikhi, they assert, is a very simple path. Other than imagining that the Creator/Creation cares and is witnessing us moment to moment; other than assuming that we will get to watch the whole movie of our lives on our death day, and that it really matters what role Truth plays in our personal lives, Sikhi requires few leaps of faith and generally resists the notion that God prefers one color, or any other neutral thing, over another. I observe that mucho Sikh debate is constantly arising over the role that Sikh tradition and/or Hinduism has on adding extra mystical meaning to "Sikh" symbols and rituals.

In 3HO there are so many added meanings applied to every little thing by Yogi Bhajan that the Sikhi part almost completely disappears into Kundalini Yoga and Hindu style asceticism, the emerging New Age of Aquarius, accupuncture meridians, and USA pop. psychology. Did you know that Guru Nanak was the Mahan Tantric back in his time? Are you careful to wrap your turban tight over the accupuncture points on either side of your third eye? Your turban won't work right if you fail to stimulate those merdians, ji!

To really understand the complexity of symbols and how New Age-ism, and so forth, got mixed in 3HO and how that then got called "Sikhism" you almost have to read Connie's whole book on the subject. It is a real eye-opener for Sikhs, an outrageous and wild read! Most X-3HOers mind you, so far report that we find Connie's book to be too dry and academic but Sikhs read it like a gossip magazine!

Hopefully the Yogi Bhajan/3HO story will be liberating and useful for Sikhi in the future.

Kamalla Kaur

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Re: Bana - as practiced in Sikhi

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From: Devinder2 8/6/04

Yes, I think Sikhism is very straightforward. The most succinct form of Guru Nanak's message is found in the abridged form of the Mool Mantra: "Ek Onkar - Sat - Gurparsad". This simple declaration of One God as the ultimate Truth has far-reaching consequences: it destroys the justification for any form of discrimination, leading to social beliefs based around equality and human rights, and it encourages a spiritual quest to understand this all-encompasing statement. Humility is essential for this path, as enlightenment is only attained through the Grace of the Guru.

For a more down to earth guide, Guru Nanak elagently summarised the ideal life of a Sikh as follows: "Lead an active and hard working life: by honest work earn the comforts of life; through devoted remeberence attain Union with God. Thus, O Nanak, all worries are dispelled."

There's no need for any other mysticism, or belief in miraculous fables, or recourse to superstition (old or new), or whatever. Even the discipline of Kesh is nothing more than a symbol of our acceptance of God's Will and our Love for the Guru (it has nothing to do with being cosmic antennae, as a 3HOer once tried to tell me!).

As for the "New/Aquarian Age" palaver I used to hear references to in Espanola, I couldn't be bothered to expend the energy to find out what it was about; it sounded like an irrelevance at best, and probably complete nonsense. I'd grown out of that sort of thing by the time I went to college; enthralment by the "Chariot of the Gods", and such like, were just a distant memory from my early teenage years. .....

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Re: Bana - as practiced in Sikhi

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From: RoseLotus1 8/6/04

Thanks so much.

It is a great blessing to be raised a Sikh in the way that you were. I do not envy you Punjabi culture but then I can't imagine you envy us our USA culture either. Then there is the Brit. culture as well. Lots of maya and lots of diversity in how we have experienced things.

Here in the USA, as children we had two worldviews to flip between. One was the Judeo/Christian worldview and the other was science. It isn't just we silly kids back in the 1970s following a gook like Yogi Bhajan, who got confused between woo-woo and real, fiction and non-fiction, fact and opinion, fraud and God; our whole culture is like that. Most Westerners have never heard a message as simple as Nanak's ...and until you do, it doesn't seem as simple.

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Re: Bana - as practiced in Sikhi

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From: Devinder2 8/6/04

I don't really consider myself to be Punjabi or Indian - just English! Thanks to my parents, Sikhism plays an important part in my life and that does make me different from most Brits. I went to the local Church of England Primary school, so Christian thought is second nature to me, and people in England are far from being homogeneous in their spiritual perspective. I'm also a scientist by profession.

I've never suffered from any culture shock when I've visited, or lived, in America; the same is true of the European continent. I've found that people with a similar academic upbringing tend to have a very similar view of the world, and personal culture, to me; in my experience, cultural differences really are just skin deep!

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