Transforming Relations (Part 5)


Transforming Relations

A Journey from Autumn to Spring – The Secrets of Blissful Living

3rd Chapter – Growing Up – 2nd Part

ਡਾ. ਪੁਸ਼ਪਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਲੁਧਿਆਣਾ ਮੋ: +੯੧ ੯੮੧੪੧-੧੭੧੮੦  

I Want To Be Free

We hear this phrase all the time: “I want to be free.” If you take the train off the track, it is free, but where does it go? If everyone could make their own traffic laws and drive on any side of the road would you call that freedom or chaos? What is missing is discipline. By observing the rule, we are actually gaining freedom, aren’t we?

Mom! This is My Life!

This tragic episode is related to the life of a young European girl in North America. She published it in a letter to Ann Landers, a popular columnist of the western world. The incident reveals the attitude of the youth towards their parents and the sad outcome of disregard for their advice. Dear Ann, now, I do not want to live anymore. I want to die and meet my mother so that I can apologize to her, be forgiven for my sin and overcome my guilt. It is impossible for me to live with that guilt in my mind. When I meet her I will say, “Mom! I am really sorry for disrespecting and hurting you by not listening to you. I ruined my own life and yours too, by disobeying you. Please forgive me.” When I was a teenage girl, I did not care to listen to the advice of my mom. As with many teenagers, whenever my mom would ask me to do or not to do something, my reply always was “Mom, this is

my life. I know (what to do). Do not interfere.” Every time I went outside, she would tell me, “Do not go out, it is too late for you to venture outside. “I was tired of hearing this again and again; hence I decided to leave the house to enjoy my freedom as an independent individual. I soon became pregnant and delivered a baby girl. Being a single mother, I suffered for more than a decade to raise my daughter. I did nothing but nurse her. I was shocked when my daughter shot at me the same words that I had said to my mom when I was a teenager, “Mom! I know. This is my life; do not interfere.” I could understand only then the agony my mother suffered when I used those words. I was awakened to the truth and understood what a mother is for her children and how much she loves them. Moved by the love for my mother, I went to her home to apologize for hurting her feelings. When I reached the neighborhood I saw a dead body being taken out for a funeral. It was my mother’s body.

The advice given to her by Ann Landers; by committing suicide you cannot meet your mother. I am publishing your feelings so that youth all over the world will read them. This will convince many of them to obey their mothers, express due regard to them, and thus, save their own lives while keeping their mothers in peace. You must go to the youth, talk about this tragedy and advise them to listen to their mothers. This is the way you can console yourself, overcome your guilt and lead the rest of your life in peace.

There is a misconception that freedom means doing your own thing. One cannot always have what one desires. Many times it is not easy to comprehend the benefits of good values and discipline. It may even seem more profitable, enjoyable and convenient to do otherwise. All we need to do is see countless instances where lack of discipline has prevented people from succeeding. What we think is pulling us down is really taking us up. That is what discipline is all about.

A boy was flying a kite with his father and asked him what kept the kite up. Dad replied, “The string.” The boy said, “Dad, it is the string that is holding the kite down.” The father asked his son to watch as he broke the string. Guess what happened to the kite? It came down. Isn’t that true in life? Sometimes the very things that we think are holding us down are the things that are helping us fly. That is what discipline is all about.

 ‘Animal’ – Man And ‘Human’ – Man

Human beings are the most intelligent animals. Man has brought every animal, even the most ferocious and dangerous ones, under his control. Further, he has discovered many secrets of nature and has made many inventions – engine, airplane, telephone, computer, etc. The concept of marriage and family is not there among the animals. They randomly mate to produce their offspring. After the mother stops suckling her young ones, she loses all relationship with her issue. Permissiveness and premarital relationships and often with more than one person, degrades cultured human beings to uncultured-‘animals’. “Animals do not wear clothes.” “An animal, even if clothed will behave as an animal. A human being will continue to be the same even if the person is not dressed, but an unclothed person will not be regarded as a cultured human being. The scanty dress culture being adopted by some youth has misled many young people. It lowers the image and grace of a cultured human being and youth must avoid it to maintain their dignity and self-esteem. It is uncivilized behavior to go out to a public place baring one’s body.

Only the practice of faith (the mission of a human being) raises an animal-man to the status of a human-man… Ignoring our faith means refusing to be a human being, and living the life of an ‘animal’- man. True peace and pleasure is obtained by disciplining one’s mind and living according to one’s faith. Rejecting, or distorting the principles of faith, and living according to one’s convenience only keep one in an illusion. For example doing exercise is not tormenting your body, but making it strong, healthy, and happy. Forcing your mind to follow your faith is not limiting or restricting your happiness, but enjoying the path of real pleasure. Faith tells us to practice the virtues – truth, service, and humility – and at the same time to stay away from vices – ego, lust, greed, and anger.

  • You have certain rights, but these rights come with certain responsibilities.
  • If you expect some things as your right, you have to act responsibly to deserve them.
  • Strong relationships are built when people respect each other’s rights and live up to their responsibilities.

Dating And Dancing

Why do parents not let their grown up children date? They feel that they are responsible enough so the parents can guide them but cannot prohibit them from going with their friends. Is dating prohibited in the Sikh Faith? Let us first understand “What is dating?” The dictionary meaning is to have an appointment, especially with a person of opposite sex. It is understood that the two want to socially interact to know each other with the objective of choosing a life partner. Dating, a sophisticated word of the western culture was used to represent a sincere and pious friendship among the unmarried youth. However, the major change in the dating regime is that premarital intimacy of various kinds — going steady, living together before marriage.

Observing social and/or moral discipline is the only way for saving youth from “ruining their lives.” The youth need to be cautioned that lust, anger, greed, and other vices overpower an individual, and force one to do what one knows should not be done. It is always good to keep away from a situation where there is a likelihood of being caught under pressure of any of these vices. Why create a potentially harmful and degrading situation?

To justify dating, one may argue, “I’m smart. I know the consequences. 1 won’t do what other silly youth do and get caught.” But what the youth do not realize is that probability of “accident” occurring increases if you choose to take risks. To illustrate this notion, why every gas station displays the notice, “Turn the engine off before dispensing gasoline.” “The gas may spill and create fire.”

There are thousands of examples when dating resulted in pregnancy, ruining the life not only of the youth but also their parents. Still, many youth believe, “It will not happen to me.” Hence the advice: Take no risk: Do not tread on that path at all. Being friendly is important for youth. He/she should have good relationship with all her/his peers, regardless of the gender. Of course, not with those engaged in dreadful activities like consuming alcohol, drugs and so on. When one is adult and ready to find a spouse, he/she should be open and frank with the parents to choose a life partner and solicit their help and guidance in making a decision. Why ignore their well-intentioned, advice for a better future? However, parents should never force their child to marry in a situation unwanted by her/him.


Dancing is a mode of entertainment in western countries Sikhism applies the general test mentioned in the Scripture to any entertainment, namely,

ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਖਾਣਾ ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥  ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਤਨੁ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ 

ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਪੈਨਣੁ ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਪੈਧੈ ਤਨੁ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ 

ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਚੜਣਾ ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥  ਜਿਤੁ ਚੜਿਐ ਤਨੁ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ॥

ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਸਉਣਾ ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਸੁਤੈ ਤਨੁ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥੪॥੭॥

(SGGS – Siree Raag Mehla 1 – Page 16)

Baabaa Hor Khaanaa Khusee Khu-aar || Jit Kkhaadhai Tan Peerhee-ae Man Meh Chal-eh Vikaar || 1 || Rahaa-u ||

Baabaa Hor Painan Khusee Khu-aar || Jit Paedhae Tan Peerhee-ae Man Meh Chal-eh Vikaar || 1 || Rahaa-u ||

Baabaa Hor Charh-naa Khusee Khu-aar || Jit Charhi-ae Tan Peerhee-ae Man Meh Chal-eh Vikaar || 1 || Rahaa-u ||

Baabaa Hor Sau-naa Khusee Khu-aar || Jit Sutae Tan Peerhee-ae Man Meh Chal-eh Vikaar || 1 || Rahaa-u ||

“Avoid those foods/clothes/vehicles/rest & sleep, which causes pain or harm to the body or produces evil thoughts in the mind.”

Dancing with partners of the opposite sex is likely to cause sensuous thoughts, for intimate bodily movement and arouse the passions. However, cultural dances like Bhangra, Gidhdha, Trianjn etc. are not forbidden, but these should not be performed in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. Such dances are meant for social occasions or festivals and have no religious significance. There are other religious dances which are done by the Hindus (as for example Raas-Lila), and also by Muslim Sufi mystics. Such dances are not permitted in Sikhism. What the Guru permitted was ‘the dance (activity/working) of the mind’, and not of the body. The Guru says:

ਨਾਚੁ ਰੇ ਮਨ ! ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਆਗੈ ॥  ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਨਾਚਹਿ ਤਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਅੰਤੇ ਜਮ ਭਉ ਭਾਗੈ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (SGGS – Goojree Mehla 3 – Page 506)

Naach Ray Man Gur Kae Aagae ||

Gur Kae Bhaanae Naach-eh Taa Sukh Paavahe An-tay Jam Bha-u Bhaagae || Rahaa-u ||

 “O my mind, dance as per the WILL of the Guru;

If you dance according to the will of the Guru;

You will gain happiness, and the fear of death will vanish.”

This kind of dance is the result of spiritual ecstasy, and is free from physical jerking and gymnastics. Similar is the Sikh attitude to Discotheque. Disco is a blend of physical movements related to loud pop music. The lights in the hall or the room are deliberately kept dim to enable the partners to get closer to each other. As disco is likely to arouse lustful feelings, it is not permitted to the Sikhs. Dances purely for the promotion of physical health or fitness are not taboo.

Expressing What You Mean

Youth are exposed to innumerable changes and stimuli in their environment. Many of these stimuli are new and evoke a feeling of anticipation, excitement and curiosity though not all promote healthy behavior. While some succumb to the new stimuli, others stand firm and resist external attempts to mold their thoughts and behavior. The kind of behavior that one adopts has a great impact on the relationship with peers. Thus, it’s vital for youth to use productive assertive techniques when confronting peer pressure rather than developing behaviors that are passive or aggressive.

Passive: Means to communicate weakly; you are unclear and afraid to address the issue or problem. You are not strong with your opinion and you do not want to upset or disappoint the other person. You exhibit confused body language, which shows you are weak, timid, undecided and have low self-esteem.

Body language: Confused – talking quietly – giggling nervously – looking down or away – sagging shoulders – avoiding disagreement – hiding face with hand, etc.

Aggressive: Means to communicate in a way that threatens to punish the other person if your feelings, opinions or desires are not accepted. You try to discourage the other person, and insist on your rights while denying their rights. Only your ideas, words, opinions, thoughts are correct. You have threatening and forceful body language.

Body language: Shouting – demanding – saying that others are wrong – leaning forward – looking down on others wagging finger or pointing at others – threatening.

Assertive: Means to communicate in a way that does not seem rude or threatening to others. You are firm in standing up for your opinion, ideas, feelings, and for your rights without endangering the rights of others. You tell someone exactly what you want in a way which makes it clear that these are your ideas, words, opinion and thoughts, and you believe them to be correct for you. You have strong and steady, but non-threatening body language.

Body language: Know what you want to say – say “I feel”- be specific – use “I” statements – look the person in the eye – don’t whine or be sarcastic – use your body too, i.e., stand upright to stand your ground.

(ਚਲਦਾ   —— Continued in next month’s issue)