Ravneet Kaur Tiwana is a Ph.D. student at UCLA conducting research on immigrant Punjabi Sikh women and their children. She is a core-member of SAFAR (Sikh Feminist Research Institute).
As a Sikh, I believe I cannot reach spiritual bliss-“anand”-unless I connect with the divine feminine. This divine feminine is compassionate, courageous, and humble. It is through this divine feminine that I connect with the omnipresent power of Waheguru. The divine feminine is not reigned by the five vices – lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment, and ego – but is in control of them. She already exists in men and women, but now we have to tap into this universal femininity.
She looks like a lotus flower. Existing within, but above the muddy water. The water is like the world we live in. The divine feminine maintains her enchanting beauty while being born within these dirty waters. She is not completely detached, but not entirely immersed. A beautiful and pure creation within a sea of ugliness.
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh holy scripture, includes hymns written by Sikh Gurus, saints, and bhagats. It is the primary source of spiritual guidance for the Sikh community. The condition of the lotus flower is continually illuminated in order to guide a Sikh into spiritual bliss.
Guru Nanak Ji in Siree Raag on Pannaa 85, says:
thoo(n) aapae kamal alipath hai sai hathhaa vich gulaal ||
You Yourself are the lotus, unaffected and still brightly-colored in hundreds of feet of muddy water.
Guru Nanak Ji in Raag Maaroo on Pannaa 990:
Maaroo, First Mehla:
bimal majhaar basas niramal jal padhaman jaaval rae ||
In the pure, immaculate waters, both the lotus and the slimy scum are found.
padhaman jaaval jal ras sa(n)gath sa(n)g dhokh nehee rae ||1||
The lotus flower is with the scum and the water, but it remains untouched by any pollution. ||1||
As a Sikh, my spiritual goal is to be the lotus flower. But only if I allow her divine femininity to shine within me.
The lotus flower is not completely understood by science, although entirely embraced by the divine. Showing that the mind alone cannot understand divine power. It must connect with the heart and soul. Lay humble to these gateways to bliss-“anand”. Only then can we-men and women- become like the lotus flower.
The process of becoming like the lotus flower is similar to when black clouds part ways on a gloomy day. Allowing the sun to shine. As the clouds separate we begin to see more and more rays of sunshine that desperately want to be seen.
These rays of light reflect the beauty of the lotus flower within us. Often life circumstances create a black cloud over us in the form of hate, greed, and jealousy. These clouds obstruct our light from shining brightly. A Sikh’s goal is to help push these black clouds away so each of us can see the beauty of the lotus flower – the divine feminine.