I am a Sikh and not a very religious person, as far as wearing visible religious articles of faith are concerned or for that matter the rituals associated with it. It is not that I am allergic to these things. Just that I never felt a pressing need for the same or I am plain lazy to make effort or take out time for these things.
That doesn't mean that I don't have faith in God or teachings of my religion, Sikhism. At the same time, I am not sure if I understand it completely and can interpret and imbibe all lessons properly. I always keep trying though and I think my God will be happy with that.
The topic for the day I have chosen is Divinity. To be more precise, divinity classes, I used to have in school. As it was a Sikh school, our divinity lessons were limited to Sikhism. (That is another point of discussion, that ideally kids should be taught about all religions and universalism in them. But let us keep that for another day. My theme for this challenge is to narrate anecdotes from life.) There were following key things taught to us in these classes:
1. Tales from Sikh History (Yes, Sikhism is a relatively new religion founded a little over 500 years ago and thus there is no mythology in these tales. In fact at any many points our Sikh Gurus fought wars against invaders and xenophobia. They sacrificed a lot for our nation.) Many of these tales were about morality and not about God. They are good lessons for children to grow up with. Like greed is bad. Sharing is important. Maintaining equanimity in happiness and sadness is key to be content and many more such lessons.
2. We learned about key people in our religion, like our Gurus and their contributions to the society. Like people who sacrificed for the right. They are perfect role models, if they are talked about to today's kids in a language and medium they understand. The key characters in Sikhism never denounced the household life. They all lived the way a normal man would. There were no miracles like in other religions. Our Guru's were teachers in true sense. Teachers of life. And those who follow them Sikhs or Students.
3. Gurbani (the Guru's word) written in our holy book Guru Granth Sahib (our eternal Guru). Well it is too large for kids, but yes we learned some parts of it which are meant to be recited daily. I was very enthusiastic as a kid. I learned at least 6 Banis by heart. (It is sad that now I can't recite them without reading). We were also taught the interpretation of these Banis, Shabds or Hymns. I used to participate in many contests related to Sikhism. I used to be part of few groups related to the same. I used to go to Gurudwara (Sikh holy temple) daily. No one could have imagined me to live such a hedonistic life in adulthood. But I still cherish those memories and they will always be important part of my life. Whether I practice actively or not, just being aware of those lessons, those values makes me a better human being and I will keep striving to become even better,
As I mentioned above, I may not understand everything, but some key lessons I learnt from these Divinity classes or from Sikhism are:
Ek Onkar - There is one Universal God. (Why humans divide themselves on basis of religion is beyond me). You can google to get actual technical interpretation though. In fact in our Gurbani, the Gurus draw tales of other religions like Hinduism. There are people from other religions who have contributed hymns to our holy book.
Naam Japna - To meditate on God's name
Kirat Karna - To work hard and earn an honest living
Vand Chhakna - To share with others
You can get better interpretations of all this on some credible site. These are my takeaways.
Irrespective of how much I practice my religion, I believe even if I am able to imbibe these few lessons properly, I will achieve Nirvana.