Ahankar

Hum Nahi Changey Bura Nahi Koi (I am not good, no one is bad)
- Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj

Can you imagine how prideful that would sound be if it were to be reversed? I am good and everyone is bad. 

Here's the funny thing. I think most of us do actually think like that. We think that we are good and that everyone else is bad!  But, our Gurus wanted us to think differently. Our Gurus wanted us to say, "I am not good, no one is bad." So what does this mean? What actions of ours mean that we are good or we are bad? 

Ahankar. . . .Pride. . . .

What does it mean to have pride? Firstly, what is the definition of pride? 
Dictionary.com: Pride: the state or feeling of being proud. (Duh!)
Pride:a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity,importance, merit, or superiority, whether ascherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing,conduct, etc.
Ah, yes, here we go. . . . . . .let's dissect this for a second. . . .

"A high opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority" Sounds a lot like, I am good and everyone is bad, isn't it? 

I'm going to go to India for a second because that is where my roots trace back to. Do Indians have pride? Let's see. . . Indians have many disputes over religion, territory, language, skin color, occupation, state, city, north side, south side, east side, west side, you name it, it's there. Yes, Indians have a lot of pride! 

Do have Punjabis have pride? I know what entered your mind, because immediately it entered my mind too. Jatt vs. Bapay. Ouch. When I hear, see, or type these words, a lot of negative thoughts and emotions come into my mind and it's quite unfortunate. Because there is nothing wrong with being a Jatt or being a Bapay or being ANYTHING for that matter! However, there is something wrong with saying, I belong to this category and this category is the best and this category is better than all of the categories out there! There is something wrong with having a high opinion of one's self and one's category. Pride. I feel like I'm going back to the basics here, but sadly, I feel like I have to. 

I'd like to throw out one of many examples that a lot of our youth deals with today. Surprisingly, this never happened to me, but I've seen it happen a lot! A LOT! Often times, when guys and girls within our community meet through online dating apps, matrimony websites, or whatever medium they wish to use, the caste system comes into play. I've heard from both males and females that they don't believe in the caste system themselves but their parents do and they cannot go against their parents. Hence, they break someone's heart and they break their own heart. But here's my two cents: If your parents believe in something and you listen to them and fully follow and obey and act out on what they say, then guess what? You believe it too. And guess what, your kids will start believing it too.  We say that the caste system is stupid and that it lies within in India and it lies with the "elders". But when we tell someone that hey, I don't want to marry you or even give you a chance strictly because of your caste, then that horrible backward mind set has now trickled down to our country and to our time and to our life. I can understanding wanting to marry someone with the same set of values as yourself and yes, sometimes staying within our "categories" makes that job easier, but you'd be surprised at how many values stay the same across the board. 

Jo Sikha Ko Puche Jaat Soh Sikh Nahi Mero Aad Jugaad
(Those who ask a Sikh's caste, they are not my Sikh, they never were, and they never will be)
- Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji Maharaj


Which brings me to my next example amongst the Sikh Community. . . 

Do Sikhs have pride? Alas. . . . the Amritdhari and the non-Amritdhari. The ones who keep their hair and the ones who don't. Waheguru Waheguru Waheguru 

For my readers who aren't Sikh, an Amritdhari is one who becomes "baptized" in our religion. Although, we don't really call it baptized. I'd like to think of it as more of a commitment out of love to the Guru. A humble and dedicated commitment to practice Sikhi in what should be the purest extent.

It's just not so pure all the time though. I have seen and felt ego and pride from both sides. Everyone is kind of cool with each other but kind of not. Unfortunately I've felt, seen, and heard many Amritdharis take a lot of pride in what they have become which actually wiped out the purpose of them doing it in the first place. I then see non-Amritdharis look at the few hypocrites within our community and get more fixated on not taking Amrit. EVER. And it makes me sad. It makes me sad, because at times, I'm one of them. 

I know better. You know better. But, it's hard sometimes. It's hard to remember this. . . .

There are so many different grocery stores out there. There are so many different types of fruits and vegetables within each grocery store. Each batch has fresh, shiny, delicious, tasty produce and each batch some spoiled, rotten, ripe produce. Just because I found one bad apple at Kroger, it doesn't mean that Kroger is a bad grocery store. It also doesn't mean that all apples are bad! And it certainly doesn't mean that apples are better than oranges! 

There are so many different countries out there. There are so many different religions out there. There are so many different languages and cultures and sub-sets out there but we are all just a bunch of apples and oranges and fruits and vegetables in the grocery store called Earth. 

Do all humans have pride? 

Please don't mistake pride with confidence! Confidence is knowing one's self, loving one's self and respecting one's self. Pride is thinking that one's self is better or more superior than all others. For example, confidence will say or think, "I love who I am. I love that I am a Sikh. I love that I am Punjabi. I love that I am a Jatt or a Bapay." Pride will think and say, "Punjabis are better than everyone else. Jatts are better. Bapays are better. I am better than everyone else. I am good and everyone else is bad." See the difference? 

I feel that we shouldn't really think about who is better and who is worse. If anything, if we have to choose who is bad, we should look at ourselves.

Hum Nahi Changey Bura Nahi Koi/ I am not good no one is bad.


India's caste system and discrimination and pride goes back thousands of years (I think). So, I get it. It's gonna take some time and a lot of education if there is a chance for things to get better over there. You know what?  Let's leave India, land of prejudice and hate and discrimination, and lets move over to America, land of the free. . . . 

Oops!!!


Bhull Chuk Maaf

Miss & Mrs. Kaur ;) 




P.S. Did you think we forgot about you? Nope! Send us your questions about Sikhi, love, life, whatever! Americanbornconfusedsikh@gmail.com. 

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