Carl Jung said that next to the parents religion
plays the most important part in shaping the human behavior. Therefore, any effort toward human liberation will be incomplete without paying attention to the humanity's experience of religion. Most of the discussion about spirituality and religion in the United States is very Euro-centric. In this section the views are informed by clinical psychological practice and the South Asian perspective on spirituality.
This is a hard bound 227 paged book. It is available at Barnes and Noble for $21.00 + taxes or from Amazon.com for $21+postage.
"This book is not the introductory primer on Sikhism, one of the world's youngest major religions, you might find in an encyclopedia, library, or a book store. Instead Meji personally surveys a universe conveyed through devotional poetry, a dramatic, often poignant historical record, and robust ethical grounding. His text weaves its way through generous quotations from Sikh scripture, a many layered history, and dozens of stories that bring the narrative to life."
Rev. Paul Chaffee, Director
Interfaith Center at the Presidio San Francisco (CA)
Content: The first 87 pages explain the basic Sikh concepts, such as Waheguru, Naam, Haumain and Hukam, Creation, Process of Forgetfulness, Gurmukh and Manmukh. What is the purpose of Sikh spiritual practice and the way to achieve that purpose? The remaining book gives a summary description of the life of the ten Gurus and their contribution to Sikh spiritual practice. This book was written to pay homage to Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji at the three hundredth anniversary of the creation of Khalsa, therefore, the last 54 pages are devoted to describe Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji's life and poetry in more detail and his contributions including the creation of Khalsa. The book is based on the author's experience of teaching Gurbani to children and youth for fourteen years at El sobrante Gurdwara in California and his life long search through recitation of Gurbani.
Essays: A Psycho-spiritual Paradigm for Peace (1997), available online at Human Liberation.
This essay begins by describing how the holocaust of partition of India had a very deep impact on him and motivated the author to pursue a career in clinical psychology and specialize in Prevention of Mental Disorders. Over a million people were killed in Punjab and there was a total genocide on both sides of the border between India and Pakistan. It made no sense until one of his Professors Dr. Bhandari introduced him to the concept of unconscious motivation. Professor Gerald Caplan, M.D. of Harvard School of Public Health had a major impact on him in his development and practice of Community Mental Health Consultation and developing programs to prevent mental disorders. He described the basic concepts of Sikh spiritual practice and explains his unique experience the way his spiritual practice and mental health work complimented each other. How it helped him in developing mental health programs to be useful to serve his patients and the communities at large.
This essay was written on January 1, 2009. It is based on the author's experience in participating in inter-faith dialogue for almost two decades. He found that it is easy to have inter-faith dialogue among inter-faith groups because the persons who come there are already quite open minded individuals. It is harder to have intra-faith dialogue to awaken the spiritual essence of our respective religions and liberate the religion from distortions that creep in because of the vested interest of the few that perpetuate misunderstanding in its members. He reviews the history of Judo-Christians-Islamic and the Sikh religions to illustrate how the followers created a religion that betrayed the spirit of their respective spiritual guides and started a religion that reflects the ego-centric spirit to dominate and exploit their fellow human beings and use violence to promote their ideas of religion that reflects the spirit of the ruling class that persecuted loving spiritual beings rather than the loving spiritual beings. He tried to explain it in terms of the psychological phenomenon of identification with the aggressor, the psychological defense mechanism described by Anna Freud in her book Ego and Mechanisms of Defense.
This essay is a summary of a presentation made at Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's birthday celebration at San Jose State University in California. It does not talk about the life of the Guru ji but his message about the goal of Sikh spiritual practice and how to achieve that goal. How would the achievement of that goal manifest in the behavior of a Sikh so that you can recognize a Sikh by his behavior rather than his appearance?
On Being a Sikh gives an outline of Guru Nanak's message in five pages. This is a 20 paged article that explains in detail the Sikh spiritual practice and its relevance to the current issues of conflict, violence, religion and political problems. It also tries to point out the difficulties in representing Gurbani through English translations. It gives two paged glossary to understand the Punjabi terms and also has selected references.
This is a seventeen paged article that describes the difficulties in translating Gurbani. So far most translations use Christian theological terms to translate Gurbani that misrepresent the Sikh spiritual concepts and spiritual practice. The author recommends the formation of a commission to correct this awe full mistake. Then he proceeds to make an effort to translate the basic concepts and lists the implications for our behavior after explaining the meaning of each concept.
This is a seventeen paged article describing the life, martyrdom, writings and contributions of Sri Guru Arjan Dev ji. He is the one who compiled Sri Guru Granth Sahib and established it in Sri Harmandir Sahib (Also known Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple) in Amritsar that he designed and got it built. Sri Guru Granth Sahib the sacred book of the Sikhs has 1432 pages and contains the poetical verses of six Sikh Gurus and 29 Bhagats, Sufis, and devotees of different religions who were from different parts of India and wrote in different Indian languages. These verses have the following things in common: There is one Creator who manifests It Self in Its Creation (it is not a sectarian God of Jews, Christians, Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs etc.) It has no form and manifests It Self in all the forms. Therefore, every thing and every one is sacred. One can not discriminate against any one on any grounds and refrains from making punitive value judgments. The purpose of being a Sikh is to alleviate the sense of duality created by Haumain (I am consciousness) and realize the spiritual unity of every thing and every being (Naam consciousness) that the universe runs according to Hukam (Divine Order) therefore there is no concept of sin or evil. Haumain creates Karma. The purpose of Sikh practice is to alleviate attachment to Haumain. If you succeed in this purpose you are liberated (achieved Moksha) while you are alive. One can evaluate the outcome of one's spiritual efforts by rating one self on the scale regarding how much one is detached from one's Haumain pursuits and how much one lives in loving devotion to Naam.
This article is the basis of workshops the author used to conduct for the professionals for personal well being. It is based on the program planning technology that most of them were familiar with and integrate it with the spiritual philosophical view. Each of the workshop participants had to develop their personal action plan, implementation strategy and come with the bench marks to monitor the progress of implementation of the plan and deal with the difficulties that one confronts in implementing the plan. Having simple resolutions to make change in oneself do not work.
Meji was on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio in San Francisco. Each Board member was invited to share their spiritual journey. Most of the Board members represented some religious organization and shared their seminary training and specific religious journey. Meji began by saying that we are all on a spiritual journey whether we know it or not. Our embodied spirit experiences this world that shapes us who we are. He felt that who he is has very little to do with his conscious efforts because what ever we become is the result of a very complex process. In this context he described the major events in his life that shaped his sense of being. In that sense it is a twelve paged autobiographical essay.