Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Culture Is Maya

By Kamalla Rose Kaur

European and USA culture are mostly maya. Punjabi culture is also mostly maya. Punjabi culture has many wonderful customs with great food and art and much beauty. Western culture also has produced some good writers, musicians, and painters and some excellent food.

Still, human social constructs everywhere are maya.

It is by actually reading the Siri Guru Granth (as distinct from simply bowing and throwing money at the Sri Guru), it is by attempting to implement the Sikh Guru's instructions into my USA lifestyle and culture, that I am slowly able to rise above and live detached from the maya of my culture. Day by day the Sri Guru questions my basic motivations and cultural training and asks me to try a new and different approach.

Historically, the Sikh Gurus taught Hindus and Muslims how to transcend the maya (the false beliefs and fantasies and egotism) of their cultures. In these modern times the Sikh Guru is still at it. At the level that Punjabi culture is supportive of caste, racism and sexism, the Sri Guru is training people of Punjabi descent to be Sikhs. Nothing has changed. Maya remains maya, and it is only by the Grace of the teachings of the Sikh Guru (and other teachers of universal truth) that any of us can break free of worldly illusions and the myriad of culturally popular falsehoods and sins.

Ready or not, the Sikh Guru challenges each of us to be much better, far more inspiring, than we actually are right now.

It is only by Grace that people from India can suddenly just drop caste, or racism, or sexism. It is only by Grace that someone born and raised in the USA can drop class-ism, and racism and sexism and materialism as well - different cultures, same maya.

The Sikh religion challenges us all to love and celebrate the finer sides of our cultures and backgrounds, but we are to live as Sikhs.

It was a miracle that Guru Gobind Singh could inspire a bunch of frightened and oppressed people of Punjabi descent to rise up and fight the maya of their fear and superstitions, and to stand strong for the human rights of all beings. It will take the same sort of miracles for Guru Gobind Singh to inspire people of Punjabi descent, and people from other cultures, to do it again and again!

The Sri Guru teaches that we must daily study and comprehend and act on universal true teachings. We must surrender our egos to Creator/Creation, giving our lives to be used for the glory of the Ik Ong Kaar. We are instructed to sing praise and keep practicing being aware that God is witnessing our lives and we are witnessing the Creator/Creation as well.

Guru Nanak, SGGS page 9:

The Beloved One created the world with many colors, species of beings, and the endless variety of maya. Having created the creation, God watches over it. God does whatever God pleases. No one can issue any order to God. Creator/Creation is the Sovereign of Sovereigns, the Supreme One and Only, our only real Master.

Nanak remains subject to God's Will only.

1 comment:

SikhsRus said...

Great thoughts on maya and its illusions! You are right about Punjabis and other people of the World having tendencies to wear chains of maya around their necks! Only a true Gursikh is free and liberated! I wish there were more and more Gursikhs than manmukhs.