Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: Being a woman and a Sikh

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Being a woman and a Sikh

I was recently asked to address the misogyny found in the SGGS and how I deal with it as a modern, feminist woman. Here is my response that I thought was broad enough to share with you all.

I grew up in a conservative Christian home and my family are still very faithful bhaktis of that path. So, I've been conditioned from the beginning to 'overlook', not that I didn't scream and have fits once I became a feminist about the way women were regarded in the church I grew up in as well as in scripture across the different faiths. I've definately lived through my rebellion and come out the other side recognizing that I"d thrown the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

Religion is a vehicle created by humans. I'm fairly new to this path ( a few years) and so the veneration that people regard the guru's bani hasn't quite sunk in with me. The Bible and the Koran are also 'inspired' literature and there's a lot of terrible stuff in there. Don't get me wrong, I was drawn to this path because of the shabd--the sound current. I'm a singer and a sound healer and so the study of the naad is pivotal to my understanding and experience of 'god'. However, it was still written by men--even in an enlightened state. So, in as much as the bani has been codified into a "religion" it reflects the times and the norms of men (and women). Let's face it, there are still a lot of stereotypes that continue to live out in our own contemporary culture e.g. commercials where men are made to look like bafoons, the continuous use of the female form to sell things via breasts and thighs, as well as the preemptive strike regarding Clinton, H., and Obama. Except in that little drama we get to throw in race as well.

As for how I address it within myself and my own experience of the SGGS, because another male friend has asked me the same thing in the past, the bride is all of us (male and female) and the groom is that experience of ourselves that is god. So our ego is the bride--who in my own experience does do incredibly stupid and willful things! And the groom is also me, when I am in the flow of life, when I am open, when I am free of my 'little plans and designs'. So, when I read the passages that make your skin crawl, I have to just remember that God is everything, the good and the bad, and my mind's resistance to that is just a continual reminder that I've yet to master the polarity and see the god in all. There is war, there is hatred, there is prejudice and it comes from god the same way that new green on the pinons, or crisp bright mornings like today with everything covered in snow, or love, or patience, or good neighbors.

And sometimes, you just have to go on faith, which is why I'm so grateful for our two-sided path here in 3HO. We not only have the gift of the guru's bani, we also have our own experience of the sound current within our own bodies, minds, and spirits. So when doubt arises, as it naturally will, we have something that can always bring us back--our own experience and awareness. wahe guru.


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