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New online resource for LGBT Sikhs

04/16/2008


http://sarbat.net/
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    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

    At certain times in one’s life, one looks at one’s own identity and considers what it means to be a Sikh. For some, this is compounded by their identity as gay men or women. No reference is made to homosexuality within the Guru Granth Sahib, although ‘lust’ is stated as being one of the Five Thieves (similar to the Seven Deadly Sins within Christianity).

    However, despite the fact that homosexuality was known to exist in India at the time of the Sikh Gurus and that the Gurus do not appear to have believed it to be an important subject to deal with in their Bani, Punjabi culture is extremely homophobic and this can cause some individuals to turn away from the Sikh faith as they are unable to draw a distinction between the Sikh religion and the Punjabi culture on this particular issue.

    Sikhism is a progressive religion, one which believes in equality of all, regardless of colour, race, religion, age or gender. One of the most famous quotes by the Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, is that “all of mankind should be recognised as one” – “Manas Ki Jaat Sabe Ekhe Pechanbo.” Such equality should also apply to gay men and women.

    Also, with Sikhism being a democratic religion without a priesthood system, one’s relationship with God is a personal one with the Guru Granth Sahib to act directly as one’s guide. It is incorrect within Sikhism to make moral judgements about other lifestyles where no-one is harmed.

    The First Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, himself has encapsulated that idea of being non-judgmental well within his teaching that “I am not good and no-one is bad” – “Hum Nahi Changey, Burah Nahi Koi” (SGGS, 728).

    Sexuality is something that is not looked at very often within Sikhism, except in the context of lust. Homosexuality is seen as abhorrent and ‘unnatural’ by some Sikhs and this can cause difficulties for those practicing or non-practicing Sikhs who identify themselves as being gay, lesbian or bisexual.

    Sarbat.Net is a website which has been set up for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) Sikhs around the world to be a safe environment for individuals to discuss their thoughts on their religious beliefs and on their sexuality. The website takes its name from the closing words of the Ardas – “Nanak naam chardi kala, terey bhaney sarbat da bhalla” “Nanak says that with God’s name comes happiness and wellbeing, and with Your blessings, may there be peace and prosperity for all”. ‘Sarbat’ literally means ‘whole’, and in this context it is a reference to the whole of mankind.

    Guru Nanak Dev advocated an understanding and egalitarian society, and he challenged the prejudices which existed in the Indian Subcontinent and beyond in the early 16th Century.

    Five hundred years may have passed since Guru Nanak Dev commenced his teachings of equality, but prejudices remain in society, such as homophobia. Sarbat.Net aims to challenge such prejudices and it is hoped that, with time, same-sex relationships will come to be seen as acceptable by mainstream Sikhs.

    Please visit the website at www.sarbat.net

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

    Jay Singh
    Moderator - Sarbat.Net

Note: Comments do not represent the views of SikhNet. Comments containing
profanity, provocation or slandar will be removed by the moderators.





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