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The topic was discussed both in Canada and USA and the outcome is given below.

  1. I was invited to a high school in Quesnel, B.C., Canada, for a lecture about the Sikh way of life. There were some Sikh students in the school. They wanted me to address their classmates and answer their questions about Sikhs and their heritage

As an introduction, I started with unanticipated questions to draw the attention of the students and to make my talk more interesting.

Author :    Why have you come to school today? It is a nice day to be outside.
Students : We want to study.
Author :    Primitive man did not have to go to any such school. Why do you have to attend school?
Students : We want to become professionals, doctors, engineers, etc.
Author :    Why?
Students : We must earn money for our living.
Author :    So you come to school for money? If I give you $5 million each, will you still come to school? If yes, why?

This made the students think, and become more involved in the talk. A very useful discussion followed.

Going to school and becoming a professional does not make an ‘animal’-man into a ‘human’-man. If we humans live only to eat, grow, produce children, get old, and die, we are absolutely no different from animals. All living beings go through the same cycle during their life. Education does not merely involve learning how to earn money, we must also know the purpose of life and how to achieve it.

The youth were asked as to what should be the mission of human life. Many answers were given by the students. They were debated and none of those answers could be agreed to be the true mission of human life.

It was then that I spoke, “Friends, it is not possible for us to know why God created us. We have to look somewhere else for an acceptable answer. We need some enlightened God-person to explain to us the purpose of human life. In the past, these philosophers or prophets have been addressed by such names as Son of God (Jesus Christ), Messenger of God (Mohammed), Incarnation of God (Bhagwan Ram, Bhagwan Krishan), One-Who-Knows (Buddha), One-Who-Guides (Guru), etc.

We can choose to believe any one of them. That becomes our faith or religion, and whatever faith we choose, we have to live according to it. 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 keeps one in an illusion.

To explain this, let me quote one common 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. If one follows this path, one leads a peaceful and contented life here, and is also assured of a similar 'life' in the next world.
After carefully listening to what I said, the students asked me about the mission of my life. My answer was, "To understand and realize the Creator, Our Father, so that I am able to accept the whole of humanity as my brothers and sisters." (See episode 1 Ovation to Guru Nanak)

At the end of the lecture the teacher said, "This is the first time in my life I found all the students listening attentively up to the end. Even after the bell rang, they were interested to hear more. Otherwise, they are usually eager to leave the room."

B. (i) When discussing the same question at a USA camp, the youth took a different view. Some new aspects were presented to identify humans from animals.

It was observed that 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.

It was also agreed that human beings (without technology) have their own limitations – the best engineer cannot build a weaver bird's nest. Human beings cannot communicate over long distance as dolphins can. Further, a gorilla can be tamed to type messages and communicate with human beings.

Finally, it was agreed that the real uniqueness of humans lies in the fact that we can understand we have a mission in life and this faculty puts human beings in a distinct category of superior 'animals'. It is, therefore, only the practice of faith (the mission of a human being) that raises an animal-man to the status of a human-man.

            ii. With a second group, there was another interesting approach developed by the trainees to identify the superiority of man over animals.

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. They agreed that among domestic animals, the male plays little part in the life of the new generation fathered by him.

The author took advantage of this analysis. The attention of the students was drawn to the permissiveness being adopted by some youth in their pre-marital sexual relationship and often with more than one person. It was regarded to be immoral behavior, which degraded cultured human beings to uncultured-‘animals’. The outcome proved very helpful in giving the message of chastity to the youth and adults alike.

 This open discussion, resulting in such conclusions, stimulated every participant to contribute an answer. One of them was that "Animals do not wear clothes." After many comments, the group agreed in a general sense, "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. A naked man is legally prohibited to come out in public. However, irrespective of the legal aspect, an unclothed person will not be regarded as a cultured human being.

A very useful message was obtained by the youth from these observations. 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. It may be an important cause of immorality among the youth. Sikh 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.





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