New Delhi, India

We can wrangle and preach for religion; fight for it; die for it; do anything but live - it .I read these lines long ago and always looking the situations in real life. Whenever we turn the pages of newspapers or surf T.V channel we find examples of people doing so. We see the people fighting, killing and dying in the name of religion. Then there are preachers doing their duty with pomp and show. We also see debates on the subjects. There are few examples where we are shown people following the preaching.

The Sikh religion is like a huge structure and distinctive entity given by Tenth Guru is its image. This huge structure is made by sacrifices of Gurus especially the sacrifices made by Tenth Guru Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji. This was followed by million of men, women and children sacrificing their lives to save self respect, religion, country and society as a whole. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the final authority that gives shelter, messages, and binds co-religionists under one roof. Through Gurbani we are taught how to live but most of us seem to be interested in reading only.

I am sharing my personal experience here and hope that I have explained what I want to say;

It was on 28.09.02, I left from New Delhi for Punjab via Shane- Punjab in the morning at around 12.15, the train stopped at Phillour railway station .It was declared that train might not leave for a long time as some political party workers had started Rail -Roko Andolan in support of their demands. Since the coach No.C2, I was traveling was parked opposite a tea stall on the platform, there was a big rush at tea stall on the platform. People were discussing about politics and grievances being meted out to commoners due to such agitations. There was a group of 4 middle-aged Sikhs like me. They were discussing the religious state of affair of our community .They were having good knowledge of Gurbani. Though I know very less about Gurbani but I was sure that their discussion was fruitful.

At around 2.30 p.m, when I was standing near tea stall I saw the lady with a weeping child of around 1 year making some enquiry from same group of sikhs and others. She seemed quite upset and looking here and there .I enquired from her and came to know that she required some hot water to make milk for the child and she was asking about the location of pantry car. The only help given to her by so called my religious brothers and others was the information that there was no pantry car in the train .She informed me that the tea stall owner is having a very good business due to long haul, he is not interested and even the utensil he is using for making tea may not be hygienic. I took bottle from her and told her to concentrate on making the child cool and care for my briefcase as I was also traveling alone .On enquiry, I told by one of the policeman that outside the station there is a tea stall and shop and the same can be managed from there. Since I was sure that the train may leave any time but my external strength and faith told me to do something for the child without any hesitation .I came out of the station and at the another tea stall the same problem of dirty tea utensil was there .I saw a steel tiffin in the stall .The tea stall owner told me that it was not clean as he had just finished his lunch. I washed the utensil with available ash and gave him to boil water. I offered him money which he refused and I rushed toward the train after crossing the over bridge. As I reached near the train so many people who had been watching that I left with bottle out of station came near by and the lady was so thankful that she could not utter a word in anxiety. Moreover, I am also sure that one should not expect thanks for the things one should be doing.

I again joined my religious brothers. One of the man said I had done very good job. Suddenly a sikh with trimmed beard passed. One of the man said that these sikhs has tarnished image of sikhism. Then it was my turn to say something .I said that I was agreed with him but ask him what he has done to improve the image .I asked him that was it enough of the religious duty for him to condemn a trimmed bearded man. What good they, the fully bearded men, were doing when they did not respond the lady with a child in a problem. You just passed the information she enquired but did not look beyond in helping her to solve problem. This is not what our religion teaches. How can we talk of reaching to PARAM-ATMA (Waheguru), when we are not in a position to interact with AATMA, as we are not responding to a cry of infant? I agreed with them that the men with trimmed beard have tarnished the image of religion and we, with full beard are symbol of our religion's image but who will take initiative in improving the image or TELL THE WORLD MEANING OF IT?

The distinctive identity given by our Tenth Guru was surely to let the world know the Sikhs doing right. He could never think that with these symbols one could think of doing wrong. What I want to say is that merely condemning a wrong can't help, as we require putting right into action. For that we require to act when the situation demands.Had that trimmed beard Sikh helped her then to whom she would have called more religious? They did not have any answer but wanted to talk to me on the matter. I told them that it's not time to discuss but to act on whatever has been conveyed to us by our Gurus through message given through Gurbani.

The train gave signal to move. They people wanted me to join in their coach to discuss but I was sure that as the God has helped me in getting the train stopped till I came back so He has given the signal to end the talks. I was sure that I was no match with them for discussions with their knowledge of Gurbani and with very little knowledge I may even say something, which I should not. The train left Phillour at around 3 P.M. In the train I could see the child happily playing with its mother. I did not know to which religion she belonged but was sure that whatever I had done was what my religion taught me. I had been to Punjab for a purpose and right from Delhi I was thinking and was under stress on the subject but after this episode I was calm as sure that my purpose has been fulfilled.

I am neither a preacher nor a so- called religious man. I am a small time businessman who is trying to do justice to the cause. I have very little knowledge of Gurbani but I am sure knowledge without implementation is not fruitful. When we pray in the morning SARBAT KA BHALA, we pray Waheguru for the well being of society as a whole but implementation is to be done by ourselves. Waheguru deputes those, who collect courage and willingness to do so. These small efforts whenever chanced upon, done by millions of Sikhs are going to help us in enhancing shine of this huge structure; our religion, for which we have lost unaccountable number of lives, wealth. Let the world know what Sikh religion is and wrong perceptions about Sikh religion are removed .We should not use religion as a stepney; approaching when in distress but As a Steering Wheel! Something in front of you, guiding your movements in daily moments of life.

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