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Summary of Question:Global Sikhism
Date Posted:Sunday, 9/05/1999 6:30 AM MDT

I one day envisage that there are going to be sikhs of every nationality and race, for eg there is going to be black sikhs, white sikhs, chinese sikhs. At the moment, the vast majority of sikhs are from punjab. As sikhs, does it matter that we can be sikhs and still come from different cultures, should we be pushing our own culture on them, is Sikhism supposed to be universal? I mean if Mr Lee Yuen Kam of China decides to become Sikh does he have to completely change his name to for eg. Prakash Singh Khalsa or does he just have to add Singh to his name, so maybe known as Mr Lee "Singh" Yuen Kam. What about langar, we as sikhs have indian foods, ie roti, dahl, subjee, if there are chinese gurudwara, can they serve rice and noodles with chopsticks at their langars, since they are still of the chinese culture. Also what about language?

The Guru Granth Sahib is in Gurmukhi, they may not be able to understand, how would they conduct their prayers, what language would the Guru Granth Sahib in that particular country, since our Gurus conveyed to peoples in their own languages, should the Guru's word also be conducted in their own language?

Thank You

Wahe Guru Jee ki Khalsa, Wahe Guru Jee Ki Fateh.

Greetings in the Name of God, the Light of every soul and in the name of Guru, the light of every Sikh. I love your vision of Global Sikhism! During the last 30 years, there have, in fact, been more people embracing Sikh Dharma from many different countries such as the United States, Canada, Mexico, many South American countries, many European countries, Africa, China, Japan, and others. The Siri Guru Granth Sahib has already been translated into many other languages, so that people studying the Guru's word can understand the meaning of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib in their native tounge. There is, however, supreme benefit for people in different countries and cultures to learn Gurmukhi (meaning from the mouth of the Guru). Only by learning the Gurmukhi script and language may we read and recite from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib with understanding, and vibrate the Gurmukhi sound current just as it was recited by the Gurus. In this way we develop and enhance our personal relationship with the Guru. I know many peo
ple in America and in other countries (including myself) who were raised in various cultures and religions, and have now embraced Sikh Dharma. We have chosen to change our names, choosing names from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, because of the powerful meaning carried in the Guru's words, and the impact of that meaning on our destiny. We have also built a school in Amritsar, and we send out children there to learn the language of the Gurus and Sikh practices from the Sikhs in India who have so courageously carried the tourch of the Guru's Light for so long.

I must say that when it comes to multi-cultural langar, however, I believe you will find that Gurdwaras with Sikhs from multi-cultural backgrounds will love to have multi-cultural langars. Here in America, we have delicious Mexican Langar, Italian Langar, Chinese Langar and more. My personal favorite is still the beautiful Indian Langar of dhal and roti, or with daid and subzi or other various delicious Indian dishes added. But overall I agree with you that Global Sikhism is evolving, and the essense of the Guru's message is that we are creating a new kind of society that is devoid of discrimination of any kind whatsoever. So I personally believe it is important that we make every effort to reach out and understand each other, and to be open and accepting of the different cultural practices of people whom embrace Sikh Dharam from other countries and religious backgrounds, as long as the practices are not disrespectful to Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Thank you for writing. Humbly yours, Gurumeet Kaur Khasla

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