Multifaith Musings: Reflections from Prabhjot Singh ’19

Posted on June 1st, 2018 by

by Grace Love ’19

Prabhjot Singh

Sikhism (the root word coming from “student” or “disciple”) is a religion originating in Punjab, a region of India.   The Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the text that informs Sikh beliefs based on the teaching legacy of 10 historical Gurus. Sikhs gather to worship in temples called Gurdwaras, where they welcome people of all religions to worship with them.  Sikhs (pronounced ‘six’) are monotheistic but do not necessarily share the same concept of a God that Abrahamic traditions such as Christianity do.


For Prabhjot Singh (’19), faith is believing in something beyond, a direction in life, and a structure helpful in understanding morals and values. The direction and structure she follows is Sikhism.  This was the tradition she grew up in, going to Sunday school with her sister and being part of a community who shared her beliefs.  Her parents encouraged her to learn everything she could about her religion, to explore ideas and to make her own opinions about the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.  She was given a freedom in her own faith experience which she continues to value.

This was the foundation Prabhjot came to college with.  The tenets and beliefs of Sikhism were what she was taught and accepted from childhood.  But college exposed her to an array of different traditions and thoughts.  She spent months using this new information to pick apart and find out what she truly believed.

Philosophy and religion classes easily led to questions such as, “if it doesn’t matter what people believe, then why should we establish a belief?” and “how can I know what’s true?” Prabhjot saw so many connections between religious beliefs and so much variance in practice and interpretation, that it was hard to find where she stood in all of it.  For several months, she was floating.  She was exploring and unsure.

Eventually, she found herself wanting to go back to her roots.  She wanted to go to the Gurdwara, to pray, to read her sacred texts again.  She took time to establish what she believes and how she wants to practice her religion.

She asserts that “I am a person of Sikh faith and I practice it differently than people of the same faith as me, and that’s okay.”  Even within the Sikh community back home, Prabhjot saw a spectrum of strictness of practice and interpretation.  For her, “everything you read is not to be literally accepted and everything you hear has gone through people.”  One of her favorite lines from the Guru Granth Sahib begins “Some will call him God, some will call him Allah…” and goes on to emphasize the universality of faith.

For Prabhjot, God is a sort of grounding force, a connection between everyone.

Though she can’t always access a Gurdwara to pray in the traditional way and early mornings are hard on any college student, Prabhjot still prays and remembers God in her own way.  She incorporates her remembrance and prayer into her daily routine as she’s getting ready for class and before she goes to bed.  Even if her prayers are only in her head, she makes sure to remember God and things to be thankful for.

These are practices that comes naturally for her.  Her faith is not a conscious influence on her life but rather an underlying guideline for how to act.  It informs what she values and what she understands to be kind and good.  The tenets she holds dearest are those of service, an honest living, and remembering God’s name.  She seeks always to be compassionate and helpful.

Prabhjot so often partakes in interfaith dialogue.  She seeks to contribute to learning about other religions.  She feels it is important for others to do the same.

“Any exposure is good exposure if you’re just willing to listen.”

“Any exploration of diversity is a beautiful thing.”

 

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