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Summary of Question:Is Wearing A Turban Gurmat?
Date Posted:Monday, 11/19/2001 5:35 PM MST

Sat Sri Akal,

I have this simple question which i thougt i never will ask anyone in my life, Is wearing a cap against gurmat??
I have never cut my hair in my life and have worn a turban since college.I have grown up in India and was never less proud to proclaim my sikhi with my turban and my flowing beard.
But today ,when i am in US ,travelling from place to place for my interviews,these very signs have a different meaning altogether.I have to ignore stares,taunts and cold looks from people for a turban and beard which have till now been nothing but proud symbols of my beliefs and never in my life did i thought that they will be confused for something else.Don't take me wrong,I am not afraid of them .This has just prompted me to question something which i always have believed in.Is wearing a Turban part of my religious beliefs?
How come our religious beliefs are dictated by social acceptance?Guru Sahib had not just asked the men to keep hair and wear turbans,as far as i know there was no gender bias in this.Then why is that it is acceptable for a girl not to wear a turban and remove some unacceptable hair while if a guy makes a pony tail and goes out like that or trims his beard ,every one is so sure in saying that it is against gurmat.I am not trying to cry out that guys are treated differently but just trying to explain what i said earlier.
Being a kesdhari i used to feel proud of myself and i didnt know when i started looking down upon people who cut their hair.I used to always lecture people around when i used to see them trimming their beard and wearing caps and patkas.Now i feel that this pride and self righteousness is nothing near to what the Guru Sahibaan tought us to be.
I believe Religion is not something in the books but a way of life.I t is very individual and personal.And why are there so many rules and rehats which allow us to be manipulated by people.why are we not left to our own conscience to interpret what is good or bad and which is the right way to live.
And lastly how can we compare different religions when all they have been able to do for mankind is nothing.All religions that were started against a certain pattern or attitude of society are right now doing the same thing,without exception.All religions have asked thier followers to believe certain things are right and laid out plans to live thier lives and it is these which make them vulnerable to be misled by people.And everyone is so self righteous in that ,everyone feels that what they believe is the only right thing and are easily able to point out shortcomings in what other people belive in.If you ask the people who did the thing on September 11th,the will say that they have done their duty but i am sure most of us wont agree with it.

It is the first time i am writting something to the sikhnet and i hope ,i do make some sense in all that i have said.Forgive me if i don't as my mind is as confused as my writting.
Still, i would be glad to get some response for this.


Dear One:
I cannot answer the question that is deepest in your heart: is the path of a Sikh for you. No one EVER said being a Gursikh is easy. It's not. And the true Gursikh will always be tested, first for his/her commitment to being Who S/He Is. This, apparently, is your test. Being Sikh requires courage, discipline, and character. The turban is a crown, which is worn in the spirit and example of the 10th Master. As far as I'm concerned, all Gursikh women should wear their hair up and cover it, but this is not done. Who says it is 'acceptable' for Sikh men to keep all their hair but not SIkh women? Not Guru. That is a cultural practice from a society that is lazy about being Sikh. Do not compare yourself to them. You are you. The question is: what do you REALLY believe in your heart? What is your relationship to Guru and do you want to keep that relationship as a Gursikh? I cannot answer that for you. Have you considered the first observance of the Gursikh: meditation on the Naam? Have you practiced this daily, upon
arising, as a way to soothe your mind, give inner strength, and remove doubts? This is the first remedy for all doubts: practice it.

I can also say that people are going to stare at you right now. Life is much harder for turbaned Sikhs in the USA, because people who don't know better and are ignorant will think you follow Osama. So, you can live in your fear and put on a cap. Or you can live like the many who came before us, who upheld their devotion and loyalty to this path and died for their hair and turbans. You can choose to smile at those who stare at you, which can be quite an icebreaker. You can explain that you are Sikh, not related to Islam or Osama. One thing is for certain: lots more Americans know who Sikhs are now than ever did before
9-11. You can search elsewhere on this Sikhnet site for resources and ideas for responding to the ignorance around you. The entire Bush Administration has been meeting with Sikhs since 9-11 and getting sensitivity training and understanding of who we are. Be part of that education where you are. Pride of ego is incorrect, but the 'pride' that represents being happy to be Sikh does not have to be arrogant or unkind.
May Guru lead you through your doubt to victory.

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