Letters to the editor for the week of August 23rd, 2012 

The Flag Stop Festival says thanks!

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Sikhism abhors asceticism and advocates an active life of a married householder in a classless and casteless society. Considering wealth as essential for our maintenance, we are not to abandon all patience and contentment for its achievement. The unending pursuit of wealth destroys our peace of mind and our craving for it increases; and thus a well-balanced life is disturbed. Sikhism does not accept the ideology of pessimism; rather it advocates optimism and hope, CHARDI KALA, that is, high spirits or dynamic power. Indulgence is considered to be an entrapment of ego. Sikhs believe meditation is a means of moderation to guard against excess pride, desire, greed, and attachment, which can result in anger and diminish the soul's connection with God. It commands its followers to:

1. earn their living by doing honest and productive work

2. share the fruit of their honest labour with the needy and those unable to help themselves;

3. remember the Lord, the Creator, at all times.

Any Sikh is free to read the Guru Granth Sahib in the Gurdwara or in their home. People of all religions are welcome to the Gurdwara. A free community kitchen can be found at every Gurdwara, which serves meals to everyone without any distinction of caste, creed, colour, religion and would be the same whether one is rich or poor and all sit in the same row. Guru Nanak first started this institution, which outlines the basic Sikh principles of selfless service, sharing food with one another in a sense of humility, oneness and equality of mankind. The word GURDWARA means an abode of the Guru (the spiritual teacher), the Holy Guru Granth.

Outside every Gurdwara there is a high flag post covered with saffron— or an orange-coloured cloth, surmounted with a double-edged sword. This symbolizes the combination of temporal and spiritual aspects of Sikh life. Also the flag post shows the presence of a Gurdwara for the people to know, where they can come to pay their respects, without distinction or fear.

The word Sikh means constant learner, a disciple and a follower of Sikhism. A Sikh loves all. He/She is characterized as a broad-minded, enterprising, energetic and industrious human being. A Sikh has a unique and distinctive personality and is represented by five symbols know as five Ks which caution a Sikh to introspect and wash out all impurities for qualitative living. KESH (long unshorn hair) —representing holiness, naturalness, saintliness, spirituality, commitment and masculinity. KANGA (comb) — signifying cleanliness, orderliness and spiritual discipline. KARA (a steel bracelet) — reminding unity with God, universal brotherhood, self-restraint, strength of steel, victory over superstitions. KACHHERA (pair of shorts) — observing moral restraint, continence, chastity and sexual discipline; and finally the KIRPAN (a curved sword) — symbolizing courage, dignity, grace and emblem of power.

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