By Amar Prakash
Back in the 1970's, there was a band called DEVO. They were one of those one hit wonders but they did have an interesting philosophy and that was: that the human race was no longer evolving but instead was de-evolving, hence DEVOlve.
In recent days as the Dera Sacha Sauda debacle has been unfolding, I have been wondering if we are observing the death knells of Sikhi as it finally Devolves into insignificance and becomes nothing more than a Cult of Thugs. People can stand there in absolute amazement, wondering why the youth is turned off to Sikhi. Well you only have to look at both sides of this sick affair to understand some of the reasons. To paraphrase a bumper sticker I once saw: "If you are not appalled by the state of Sikhi, Then you are just not paying attention."
The Guru's gave us a great gift: Gurdwara, The Gateway to the Guru.
gurU duAwrY hoie soJI pwiesI ]
Through the Gurdwara, the Guru's Gate, one obtains understanding.
Guru Nanak, p. 730
Just as it is in the rest of the Guru Granth, Guru Nanak makes use of the metaphor. Here Gurdwara is a metaphor that represents that transcendental Gateway that the Guru passes through to guide us on our path to understanding EK.
But what has happened to the Doorway? Through misunderstanding and literal interpretations of Gurbani, that Doorway has been slowly bricked shut, one brick at a time.
Over the years, Sikhs continued adding bricks of misunderstanding until the Gateway was closed. Then they stood before the non-existent Gateway and proclaimed what a great wall and religion had been built. As they stood there admiring their work, they decided to add golden domes and beautiful marble to the wall and they declared that God must really love them for allowing such a beautiful wall to be built.
When some pointed out that the Gateway had been bricked shut, they were told not to 'fiddle with Sikh traditions' and swords were unsheathed, excommunications were delivered, and those who insulted "Sikh religious sympathies" were jailed.
The status quo had been maintained because after all, that is what was important. But the Sikhs were still standing on the outside maybe never to walk through the Guru's Gate and a tear may have fallen from Guru Nanak's eye as he realized that everything had been for naught.