Dr. Doris Jakobsh, Oh My! by Kamalla Rose Kaur


One of my dearest and most controversial friends ever is Dr. Doris Jakobsh, a Canadian scholar who stumbled into Sikh Studies.

“While I was at Harvard I visited the gurdwara at Millis. It was managed by Gora Sikhs of Yogi Bhajan. I found this ‘marriage’ of East and West fascinating and decided I needed to know more about Sikhism. At that point in time, 1990-1992, Sikhism was not a subject that was often taught at the university level. That has changed somewhat since then. It was a new field of study as a lot of work had already been done on Islam, Hinduism and other Eastern religions. No serious study had been done on gender equality in Sikhism, so I chose this subject for my Ph.D.

For the whole story read:

Japji Captures The Heart of God

How fabulous Dr. Doris must have felt when Oxford Press, no less, published her thesis as a book!

Relocating Gender In Sikh History does not compare Sikhi with other faiths. It simply digs for the real history of Sikh women, and comes up very very short. Sikhs forgot to write down Sikh women’s history. Sadder yet, Sikhs forgot to write down Sikh men’s history too. Things that most every Sikh believes, historically speaking, are not that easy to document and prove.

Yet no one denies that Guru Arjan put together the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, or that he wrote the poems he claims to have written, or that the other poets in the Sikh scripture are also true and authentic historic leaders and artists.

For me, Relocating Gender in Sikh History is simply a look at the available historical source documents and Sikh’s claims of gender equality within Sikhi. It is clear to me that if Sikhs could pop up with historical documentation to combat Dr. Doris’s conclusions, we would. Instead some Sikhs passionately denounce Dr. Doris, slandering her wildly; the universal sign of losing a debate, or discussion.

“In her pathological desire to fit with the ‘Culture of the Fitters’ of the Sikh religion, and to form an ‘ugly gestalt’, she even has shamelessly attempted to demolish the best Khalsacentric work done on Sikh females by Dr. Nikky-Gurinder Kaur Singh documented in her book entitled The Feminine Principle in the Sikh Vision of the Transcendent (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).” *

Dr. Doris and Dr. Nikky-Guninder Kaur are good friends. Dr. Nikky Kaur studies the Sikh scripture and reflects 0n Sikh theology in her book, while Dr. Doris writes about Sikh women’s history.

“Jakobsh feels she has the right to make Sikh female ‘sociological respectable’ by imposing rational efficiency of logical positivism. In the process, if she has to trample over to the sacred writing of the Sikhs in Guru Granth Sahib so it be!”*

*Doris R. Jakobsh: A Self-Appointed Researcher of Sikhism by J.S. Mann and S.S. Sodhi, published by Sikh Spectrum

Baldev Singh, another critic, is extremely angry with Dr. Doris accusing her of false statements about Sikh Gurus, maligning Jats, spurious anti-Sikh writings, questioning the martyrdom of Guru Arjan and the bravery of Sikhs, echoing of British anti-Sikh propaganda, manipulation of a population census, and absurd, misleading and deceptive statements.

Relocating Gender in Sikh History: Transformation, Meaning and Identity (Author: Doris Jakobsh)A Critical Analysis by Baldev Singh

But to nonSikhs, Dr. Doris simply appears to have had the bad karma to have been the first historian to focus on what we know and do not know about Sikh women’s role in Sikh history.

Are Sikh men responding better than Christian males faced with the same forces in the 1970s and since? Dr. Doris assures me that she has not received any death threats. This is good, very very good.



Filed under Kamalla Rose Kaur's Writings, Multicultural, Sikh Women's Movement, Sikhi, The Khalsa Knighthood

39 responses to “Dr. Doris Jakobsh, Oh My! by Kamalla Rose Kaur

  1. To the Question- raised by Dr. Doris Jakobsh of :

    “Why? – ‘Sikhs forgot to write down Sikh women’s history. Sadder yet, Sikhs forgot to write down Sikh men’s history too. Things that most every Sikh believes, historically speaking, are not that easy to document and prove.’ ”

    For an answer – Please discernly consider that the Sikhs – in all ages – since Baba Nanak – had time only to create History – and not write about themselves – except the Adi Granth – due to the fact that :-

    ” A price, indeed was put upon the heads, and so vigorously were the measures of prudence, or vengence followed up, that – – – the more sincere had to seek a refuge among the recesses of the hills, or in the woods – – ”

    This is by recorded by JD Cunningham in his ‘History of the Sikhs’ on Page 80 – by Cf. Foster (Travels, i. 312, 313), and by Browne (India Tracts, ii. 13) and also by Malcom (Sketch, pp 85, 86).

    About Cunningham’s Book – ‘An Appreciation’
    by HLO Garret. Editor. Lahore 1915: writes :-

    “ It told the whole truth– an unpalatable crime – a despotic Government cannot endure – removed Cunningham from his appointment – Cunningham, stunned by the blow, – died of a broken heart.
    “ Truth, however, has triumphed ultimately, as it has a way of doing ”
    (P. iii – iv. and P. 13 / 63 / 290).

    Both the Historians [like Cunningham and Maccaullife] and the subject [the Sikhs] – are minorities – and are equally pushed out of the pages of history – by the majority – as Truth – is always unpalatable!

    This fact is as true – today – as yesterday – and will remain true – even tomorrow – forever – as seen from happenings in New Delhi 1984 riots// France – turban intolerance / USA- mistaken identity / Europe/ Africa etc – in fact all over the global village – – details can be ascertained by any interested Historian- or can be provided if genuinely interested.

    It is very easy to deny History because “there are no original authentic sources” – but then – – the facts speak for themselves – the Khalsa Revolution [much before the American & French Revolution] created the Sikh Kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Historical Punjab –
    just as was said in the wild west – ‘dead men tell no tales’ – the ‘wild west’ created the United States – – ask the original American Red Indians!

  2. kamallarosekaur

    Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

    Hi Perminder Singh,

    Thanks for your response. You actually quoted me, not Dr. Doris.

    Yes, of course. It is a shame, but hardly unusual, that Sikhs failed to care about women’s history (who did?) and also failed to keep better diaries. Hopefully we are improving and the future will know us better!

    My point is that we need not blame and scapegoat historians for the fact that we can’t prove that Guru Gobind Singh initiated women into the Khalsa in 1699 and so forth. Worse case, the Khalsa started accepting women in the colonial period, which is still very very very early.

    Of course, Sikh women still do not have equal rights in practice within the Khalsa Knighthood. Only Yogi Bhajan Sikhs and the AKJ Sikhs have women Punj Piare (translation for nonSikhs: women can be initiated, but cannot initiate others into the Khalsa Knighthood). For those of us who follow the Sikh Reht Maryada (Sikh Code of Conduct) , even though the SRM supports women’s equality and women in the role of Punj Piare, practicing equality for women is still a very hot issue; too hot seemingly!

    Sikhs and Sikh Studies academics have some very interesting (and sad) disputes. Academics study what Sikhs DO, while good Sikhs, at least, study the SGGS (our scripture), and define Sikhi by what Guruji (our scripture) says we SHOULD do.

    Sikhi, as defined by the SGGS/Guruji is very different from Hinduism and also Islam. Then again, many/most “Sikhs” do not read the SGGS and they practice either a very Hindu-like version of Sikhi or a rather fanatically male dominated and militaristic Islamic-like Sikhi; sometimes both. These are simply the facts, and academics will (and should) report this, of course. Sat Siri Akaal! (Truth Does Not Die). Blaming them for our dirty laundry is bad form, even evil. It is not journalist’s or academic’s fault that Sikhs don’t practice Sikhi the way Sikhi is taught by Guruji/the SGGS. Sikhs need to be brave enough and strong enough to face our own truth and not scapegoat (or threaten) others.

    On the otherhand, Sikh Studies academics need to understand what the Sikh scripture says about “faithless cynics” and “manmukhs” – those who talk from their egos and heads, as distinct from wisdom speakers. Seeing books by Western scholars with titles like “Discovering the Sikhs” is so embarrassingly racist – disgusting! NonSikhs naming Sikh sects/groups by Hindu castes and so forth is also really awful…bad, bad. bad.

    I love how Sikhi is attracting the interest of people from all faiths and how it is now being taught in comparative religion classes in high schools and universities in the West. Sikhs, I feel, need to thank Western scholars and Interfaith etc. for their help in saving Sikh identity. We no longer need to worry that Sikhi will ever be consumed by Hinduism, because Sikhi is it’s own faith in the West, no problem. As for Western scholars and journalists, we need to talk to them, educate them, love them and we need to fight those who threaten or berate them.

  3. Dear Kamla Kaur Ji, Sat Sri Akal.

    Keep the flag flying. Great work. Please do mention the Web site http://www.sikhspectrum.com when you refer to articles from that site, like my article on Dr. Jakibsh’s thesis. I am not angry with her, I pity her scholarsship and feel sorry for her. She is a very bright person. Why she threw her commonsense away while writing her thesis? It is sad that she misinterpreted/ distored all the Gurbani quotes in her thesis. There is not anything worthwhile which I could learn from her work. It is sad that under the name of academic scholarship in the field of humanities everywhere manipulion, deception, falseehood and hypocrisy reign supreme. Instead of being the messengers of light/truth the academics have become peddlers of false propaganda, in the word of Guru Nanak “murdar/ filth eaters”.


    Baldev Singh

  4. kamallarosekaur

    Baldev Singh,

    You have called Dr. Doris a man-hater and a lesbian; am I correct in this? If so, that certainly kills your chances for being taken seriously by good Sikhs and nonSikhs alike. It is bizarre how you criticize a nonSikh on the grounds of her not being a Sikh?

    I know that most Sikhs in this world agree that we are all (all beings) free to study Christians, and Muslims, and Hindus,and Buddhists, and Sikhs, and atheists without having to pay homage and bow to the beliefs and scriptures of these faiths. Dr. Doris was not studying the Sikh scripture, rather she wrote about Sikh women’s history. Good for her. Her book supports many many great stories about great Sikh women and her book shows where we can’t prove stuff.

    As to what Dr. Doris writes about Gurbani (Hymns from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib) she says:

    “Sikh scriptures are just beautiful. It is a sheer pleasure to become engrossed in reading them, even from English translations, which of course cannot capture the essence of the original script. And Japji! I feel that it captures the heart of God.

    I also enjoy listening to Kirtan. Some of what I would consider my most sacred moments have taken place sitting quietly at the Darbar Sahib in Amritsar, listening to the beautiful music as I watched the sun setting. I observed some of my students (on a trip to India in 2004), even though they are not Sikhs, be mesmerized by the same sacred music. ”

    But how about people who wish to study Sikh art or history, but they prefer music from Bali over Northern Indian music? Does Nanak fear honest learners? Does Nanak expect the world to be Sikh? Or all become Sikhs? Not in the least. Sikhs have a great history, much of which we can prove and some of it we can’t. This is simply the way it is. Reality. The Sat Naam.

  5. Dear Kamala Kaur Ji, Sat Sri Akal

    Have you read my article? Can you show where I said that she is a lesbian or man-hater? Please read my article and show it to me.

    Did you read what she wrote about Sikh Gurus and how she distorted the meaning of every verse she quoted? Did you read what she wrote about Jat women? Who coined the term “hyper- masculine Khalsa”? It seems that you either did not read my review or Dr. Jakobsh’s thesis or you have problem understnding both.
    The first requirement to be a Sikh is to speak the truth without any hesitation.


    Baldev Singh

  6. Suaran Singh

    I am not able to enter into a discussion on
    what Doris wrote because I have not read her book
    but it is good to read the comments of those who have. But I like to read your columns and the
    comments columns provided in it for the information I can gather therefrom. Keep it up.

  7. kamallarosekaur

    Hi Baldev Singh,

    Are you saying that you have never ever ever engaged in nasty and false personal attack of Dr. Doris, or just that you didn’t in your article? You swear you have never called Dr. Doris a lesbian and a man-hater?

    Yes, I have read Dr. Doris’s book. It is a nonSikh look at Sikh women’s history, of course. I found it fascinating as such; an eye-opener. Do I agree with everything she says? Of course not.

    I am eager to read calm and well researched responses from others and eager for more women Sikh’s history to be dug up and shared.

    Meanwhile, I am embarrassed, as a Sikh, to read hot-headed diatribes against university students and Western academics, and even Sikh scholars. They come across as silly and fanatic and frightening.

    We already know that, though Sikhi theologically promotes women’s equality, that Punjabi and Punjabi Sikh culture does not – mucho macho culture, I would say.

    One of the things that makes Sikhs fascinating to nonSikhs who are learning about us is how enlightened Sikhi is theologically, and how hard it is for Sikhs to drop caste, and stop being separatist in our approach to the world, and celebrate and include women at all levels like Guruji/the SGGS instructs.

    We have all watched the major world religions grapple with class, race and gender issues; and frankly Sikhi is ahead of the game because our theology pushes us s0 hard to be leaders and to fight for the human rights of all beings.

    So why do you think Sikhs lag behind in actualizing Guruji’s Hukam (marching orders, command, or Will)?

  8. kamallarosekaur

    Thanks Suaran Singh,

    Here are some – what I consider – reasonable reviews of “Relocation Gender in Sikh History” by Dr. Doris Jakobsh:

    “The Better Half of Sikh History” by Puneet Singh Lamba

    “Making Sikh Women Visable” by Ravinder Kaur

    “Gendered Reading of Sikh History and Culture”

  9. Dear Kamla Kaur Ji, Sat Sri Akal,

    Please do not change subject. Show me the words in my review that says that Jakobsh is a man-hater or lesbian. It is quite possible that you are confusing my article with Dr. Sodhi and Mann’s article. For the sake of truth check my article and show me the statement.


    Baldev Singh

  10. kamallarosekaur

    Have you EVER publically called Dr. Doris a lesbian and a man-hater? Not in your article, but EVER?

    You do not deny it; rather you say I am changing the subject. Slippy-slide-slip!

    Most men I know think women have good reason to condemn men who verbally or otherwise falsely attack women. Do you agree?

    Rufus Griswold, back in 1854 called women who dared to write “hermaphroditish disturbers of the peace” – hilarious!

  11. I have never said those words about Jakobsh or any woman.

    Baldev Singh

  12. kamallarosekaur

    Thank you Baldev Singh,

    I am happy I am wrong. I have been publically called a lesbian and a man-hater by dozens of Sikh men, including two Sikh forum moderators in the last 8 years. I am sorry I mistook you for one of Dr. Doris’s sillier and immature critics.

    My problem with your article is that you scapegoat Dr. Doris. You seem to think she is a terrible Sikh. I agree. She isn’t a Sikh at all. Why should she be?

    Do you agree that it is Sikhs, not Dr. Doris, who forgot to write down Sikh history? Do you agree that it is Sikhs who have failed to practice gender equality as preached by Guruji?

    It is a free universe and people interested in learning about and studying Sikhi and Sikhs are going to come along and draw their own conclusions based on what they find; from historical source documents and also from the way Sikhs act; past, present and future. We need to be brave and own up to our failings – and CHANGE.

    Sikh women do not have anything like gender equality. Sikh institutions are male dominated and so far, as of 2008, mainstream Khalsa women (as distinct from Yogi Bhajan’s group and the AKJ) have never in history manifested the power to initiate fellow knights into the Khalsa. The women who attempted to do seva at Darbar Sahib have been flamed terribly instead of rejoiced in and celebrated.

    Whose fault is that? Please put the blame where it belongs and stop hassling innocent cross-cultural history buffs.

    Sikhs have been in the West for over 100 years. Extremely educated Sikhs have been in the West for over 100 years. Sikhs, in all that time, have not generated an accurate or artistically palatable translation of the SGGS, nor have Sikhs educated Westerners about Sikhi.

    Is it the West and Westerners who are causing youth to stray from Sikhi?

    I think Dr. Doris’s book helps Sikhs wake up and smell the chai.

  13. Kamala Kaur,

    I am sorry I responded to your column. Never gaing you will here from.

    Baldev Singh

  14. The main point of issue appears to be is “Who are the SIKHS?”
    In this connection I refer to Prof Arnold Toynbee’s commentary in Preface to the UNESCO Pub.
    ‘Selections from the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs’:
    “some of these contributors to the Granth are Hindus, while others, are Muslims. Their writings have found a Place in the Adi Granth because the compilers of it held, and surely with good reason, that these seers were Sikhs in fact,
    though they lived and wrote before the Sikh religion took institutional form.- They were Sikhs because they brought out and emphasized
    universal spiritual truths contained in their respective traditions; and these truths belong to all ages and to all faiths.”

    (Likewise – on the same analogy logic, Arnold Toynbee, too, is, in fact, [among others] a ‘Sikh’!

    Likewise Captain JD Cunningham too observes
    ‘the Sikhs have also elements of change within themselves and dissent is everywhere – a source of weakness and decay; although sometimes it denotes a temperory increase of strength and energy.’ –
    [confirming that just as no two fingers are the same on the same hand, likewise no two Sikhs can be twin robots of each other – even though the underlining thread of ‘Truthful living’ runs firmly in them]
    Likewise, too, on the same analogy logic, [like Arnold Toynbee], Captain JD Cunningham too, is, in fact, [among others] a ‘Sikh’!
    [due to his writings in ‘History of the Sikhs’ – which is reported as “It told the whole Truth” ]

    I hope this clears the discussion on “You seem to think she is a terrible Sikh. I agree. She isn’t a Sikh at all. Why should she be?”
    Exactly – if she does not believe in ‘truthful living’!

    As regards “Do you agree that it is Sikhs, not Dr. Doris, who forgot to write down Sikh history?”
    It depends upon which ‘Sikhs’ you are referring.

    And also regards “Do you agree that it is Sikhs who have failed to practice gender equality as preached by Guruji?” – Likewise- it depends upon which ‘Sikhs’ you are referring.

  15. kamallarosekaur

    Thanks Perminder Singh,

    You mean Dr. Doris missed something in her research on Sikh women? Please cite references for historical documentation regarding Sikh women’s history that Dr. Doris missed in her book. That is very important; if she missed something.

    Meanwhile, I probably don’t need to mention this to you – but just so everyone is really clear – we are not talking (not in this thread, not yet) about W. Hew McLeod or Sikh uproar regarding his writings.* There is no “McLeod School” and Dr. Doris doesn’t belong to it, even if there were one. Rather Western women academics tend to be a bit miffed at how Western male academics fail to study women too.

    * W.H. McLeod: http://www.sikhtimes.com/bios_071702a.html

  16. Elizabeth D.

    A bit miffed. Perturbed. Down right cross at times!

  17. This is amazing stuff! Dr. Doris keep up the good work. Dear Kamla Kaur, you are doing Sikhi a great service. I believe the gurus were ahead of their times and now Sikhs are behind the times. Sikhi is a gem and unfortunately Sikhs treat it like one not remembering that it is something to be learned from not just kept locked away and revered. There are so many things wrong with Punjabi culture like all cultures and by following the path of the gurus we can improve Punjabi culture and show that we mirror our religion and not contradict it.

  18. kamallarosekaur

    Wahe Guru Ji ka Khalsa Wahe Guru Ji Ki fateh

    Welcome Satvinder Singh,

    It is great to have you here. Don’t stop posting please. May I ask your personal information? Age? Where you live? Hobbies? Talents?

    There are people all over the world who are ethical, hard working, and full of good cheer and charity. They are not only tolerant of others, they enjoy cultural differences – while seeing only the One Reality, the unity of the cosmos as well.

    Guruji (the SGGS) has exceedingly high standards, but then again, it is all by Grace anyway. Sikhs are no worse than anybody else – nor are Sikhs any better. Sikhs are often too macho but then again Sikhs have been at war (against the invading Moghuls, then the invading British, then there was Partition (not a war but a struggle for sure) and WW2 and then the Indian Government attacked Darbar Sahib in 1984) every generation since….um…Guru Arjan’s assasination?

    The Khalsa Knighthood still exists too. All the old European Knighthoods that still exist seem a bit occult, certainly secretive – how about dark? They were never defence-only Knighthoods anyway.

    A Sikh Studies professor (not Dr. Doris) was complaining to me a few months back about seeing “Sikh” men in turbans in India drinking and acting badly in public.

    “Yes, I wish Sikhs didn’t make such a big thing out of the turban instead of the Panth and vows. If only every Sikh who isn’t keeping the Khalsa vows would not wear the Khalsa Knighthood uniform.” I agreed. “But do you agree that every child in the world should be taught what the 5 Khalsa vows are? They should be given that standard, or one just as good – or better if you can find one? You agree?”

    The professor was quiet for a moment then said, “Yes. Absolutely.”

  19. It is a pleasure to be here and I would love to have the pleasure of discussing things on my mind. This seems to be a good place lay down my thoughts. As for the information you requested. I am 31 from Toronto, Canada. My hobbies consist of reading, anything historical, I dabble in art a little and I don’t know if you can call eating a hobby. My talents, humm? I guess I am a pretty good cook and I have an ability to retain useless facts which makes for good party conversation. I’m pretty good at drawing still life although I have not done it in a while.

    As for your conversation with the Sikh Studies professor, I would say that Guru Gobind Singh was not kidding when he said my Sikh will be recognized in thousands or hundred thousands, you get the point. It seems the turban attracts attention to the one wearing it so it is almost like a reminder that one must be on their best behavior. This reminds me of something my father use to say. A Sikh has to look and behave his best because every Sikh is an ambassador for an entire nation. It could be argued that Sikhs who don’t wear turbans don’t represent the Sikh identity.

    I do however agree that a Sikh is more than his turban and in my opinion it should only be for baptized Sikh’s as most Sikhs abuse the image by behaving badly. Behaving badly is not a Sikh trait but a human one. You should only wear a turban when you have come to a realization that you want to make a commitment to something bigger than you are (The Khalsa).

    I do also see another problem that I can’t explain in Sikhi. I notice this a lot. When Sikhs cut their hair they are almost forgiven for not being able to live up to the Gurus demands of being a good human. It seems Sikhs associated being pious and righteous with the turban and beard and not the person. I have also seen that kids who don’t have turbans are usually less educated on Sikhi, I find this so weird. I guess having a turban your constantly reminded of Sikhi or you ask questions about it even it they are not for positive reasons. For example a popular one kids don’t understand is, “Why do I have to wear one none of the other children do.” Either way Sikhs almost associate the turban with being religious and those that don’t have one aren’t encouraged to learn about Sikhi, learn to read Gurmukhi, go to Sikh Camps or the Gurdawara. I hear people without turbans constantly say, “oh, I don’t wear
    one because my family isn’t religious or I’m not religious”. The Turban was never a religious symbol, it was an act of defiance. When the moghuls said no Sikhs could gather Sikhs said we will gather, plot you downfall and you’ll know we’re doing it cause it will be the guys with the turbans on their heads and the look of determination on their face.

    To wear one or not. I don’t really know. I guess we do have to learn how to pass on the ideals of the Khalsa without all the extras. I don’t know how. Do you?

  20. kamallarosekaur

    Hi Satvinder Singh,

    Thanks so much.

    Guruji/the SGGS can easily upstage Sikhs of Punjabi descent and spread the True Teachings. Sikhs can’t hide Guruji behind inaccurate, oddly Christianized, bad translations forever. Soon as people everywhere can read a decent translation of the Sikh scripture, Guruji will train them in how to be Sikhs if they wish to be Sikhs. Doesn’t matter to Guruji what country/culture you were born into.

    From there many new Sikhs will be called to the Khalsa Knighthood in due time. That is wonderful too.

    Again I think Sikhs need to look up. There is no longer a need to fight for Sikh identity in the face of Hinduism – not outside of India at least. Sikhi is being taught as a separate religion in comparative religion classes in High Schools and universities and Sikh Studies is gaining lots of interest, worldwide. Much progress has happened in the last decade. I bet that within the next decade Sikhi will become a global religion instead of a regional one.

  21. kamallarosekaur

    The Soulbride Obtains Her Divine Husband

    Guru Amar Das
    Page 245 SGGS

    The soul-bride is pierced through
    with the sublime essence of the Beloved,
    with intuitive peace and poise.
    The Enticer of hearts has seduced her,
    and her sense of duality has been easily dispelled.
    Her sense of duality has been easily dispelled,
    and the soul-bride easily obtains
    her Divine Husband;
    following Guruji’s Teachings.

    She makes merry.

    These vehicles are filled to overflowing with falsehood,
    deception and the commission of sins.
    The Gurmukh (wisdom speaker) practices that type of devotional worship,
    by which celestial music wells up.
    Without practicing this specific sort
    of devotional worship,
    inner filth is not removed.
    O Nanak, the soul-bride who sheds
    selfishness and conceit from within,
    is dear to her Beloved.

    The soul-bride has found her Divine Husband,
    through the love and affection of Guruji (the SGGS).
    She passes her life-night sleeping in peace,
    enshrining the Beloved One in her heart.
    Enshrining the Beloved deep within her heart,
    night and day,
    she meets her Beloved,
    and her pains depart.
    Deep within the mansion of her inner being,
    she enjoys her Divine Husband,
    reflecting upon these Teachings.
    She drinks deeply of the Nectar of the Naam,
    day and night;
    she conquers and casts off her sense of duality.
    O Nanak, the happy soul-bride
    meets her True Beloved,
    through the Infinite Love of her Teacher.

    So come God, and shower Your Mercy upon me,
    my most Darling, Dear Beloved.
    The soul-bride offers her prayers to You,
    so adorn her with the True Word of Your Shabad (Teachings).
    Adorned with the True Word of Your Shabad,
    she conquers her ego,
    and as Gurmukh, her affairs are resolved.
    Throughout the ages, the Cosmic One is True;
    through Guruji’s Wisdom,
    the Cosmic One becomes known.
    Self motivated egotists, manmukhs (talking heads),
    are engrossed in sexual obsession,
    and tormented by their emotional attachments.
    With whom should she lodge her complaints?
    O Nanak, those manmukhs find no place of rest,
    not without the most Beloved Teacher.

    If the bride is foolish, ignorant and unworthy,
    her Divine Husband is Unapproachable and Incomparable.
    The Beloved One merges us in union with the Beloved One.
    It is the Beloved One who forgives us.
    The soul-bride’s Beloved Husband is the Forgiver of sins.
    The Beloved is contained in each and every heart.
    My True Teacher has made me understand this concept,
    that the Beloved One is obtained through love, affection and humble devotion.

    She remains forever in bliss, day and night;
    she remains immersed in Divine Love,
    night and day.
    O Nanak, that soul-bride who obtains nine treasures,
    intuitively obtains her Divine Husband

  22. kamallarosekaur

    Dr. Doris Jakobsh (Canadian Sikh Studies scholar) has done such a great service by writing an academic paper on the subject of whether YBism is a 1970s New Religion or Sikhi or both. It is published in an academic journal and I need to figure out if we can quote it here. Dr. Doris is returning from many months in India traveling with her whole family, her artist husband and two children. I will be interviewing her soon. Stay tuned.

    Academic articles are very important because they influence the “academy”. Religious Studies academics and Sikh Studies scholars are involved in a ongoing slow, often (but not in this case) dry and tedious conversation about Sikhs and Sikhi – where each step must be well researched. Dr. Doris has done we YB cult survivors such a great service and I thank her so very much.

    3HO/Sikh Dharma of the Western Hemisphere: The ‘Forgotten’ New Religious Movement?

    by Dr. Doris Jakosh

    This article will give a general overview of a Sikh movement that originated in the 1960s with an immigrant from India known as Harbhajan Singh, a Khatri Sikh. His initial aim was to teach yoga in Canada, but the job he was promised did not materialize, and thus it was that he turned his attention towards California. In Los Angeles, he took on a new name, Yogi Bhajan, and soon surrounded himself with eager students. An ashram was built soon thereafter and by 1969 his ‘Healthy, Happy, Holy’ group was incorporated as a tax exempt organization. Although Bhajan was from a traditional Sikh family, he increasingly focused on Kundalini Yoga and Tantra in his teaching and practices. However, Sikh teachings were also incorporated into his message, a message that was largely directed towards a white, middle-class, counter-culture audience. Needless to say, the Punjabi Sikh community has had a mixed reaction to the ‘Gora’ (white) converts, particularly with regard to the accretions and modifications to the Sikh traditions, upheld by Bhajan and his followers. This article will address aspects of 3HO (or Sikh Dharma in the Western Hemisphere) in its current manifestation that resembles characteristics of new religious movements, particularly its claims to universality and purity within its own manifestation of ‘true’ Sikh identity.

  23. pritamKaur

    Dearest kamalrose ji

    It is interesting. I attended a interfaith dialogue facilitator course, and in the midst an assignment, and one group ( bahai/islam/hinduism.catholism/christian etc faith) would write on faith & woman ( others have to contribute too in some way and I was wondering sikhism & sikh women, and another was writing on faith & women sexuality ) . I would definitely read and use some from your blog to talk and give them your blog to read more ( they are of different faith) . cheers!pritamKaur

  24. kamallarosekaur

    Hi Pritam Kaur,

    I would love to read what you and other Sikh women wrote! Are you blogging it? I’d be happy to publish you here, or blog link.

  25. pritamKaur

    Hi Kamal,

    I am not blogging it yet. This weekend we are metting for the interfaith seession ( last two days ) to disucss on the topics of faith/woman, faith.womansexuality…Infact withinh the groups, there are guys to who are working on this topics ( a muslim, bahai and hindu guy). I am getting informaton on sikhism & woman, sikhism and woman sexuality ..from Guru Granth Sahib ji. Will feedback you on our discussion on this among all the faiths after this week. tks .
    , i m interested in making some comaprisons too, Mai Bhago & Bibi Nanki , Mata Sundri would be the woman & sikhism for my assingment.

  26. vikramjit s wasu

    pritam kaurji
    Do not forget Mata Gujriji the soulmate of Naavi paatshahi. the mother of Dasvi paatshahi and grandmother of chaar Sahibzadaes remember she took care of two chhote Sahibzadaes be4 they were bricked alive. They and she were kept locked in thanda burj (cold tower) in the coldest month of Punjab , that is December and yet she didnt waver nor her kid grandsons in spite of threatening presence of officials of mighty Mughal Emperor.Dhun dhun Mata Gujriji.

  27. Sam Dsuja


    You seem to be driven extra by pathos and ethos and subtracting logos altogether. Dorish Jakobsh may be your good friend and may be a good human being as well. However, just that does NOT make her work immune to critical reviewing. I’ve gone through her thesis only to get shocked and left wondering about her and her thesis committee’s credentials. The thesis is full of flaws and misinterpretations and could never have passed by any thesis committee having knowledge on Sikhism and related issues.

    Sam Dsuja

  28. Sewak Singh Khalsa

    Unfortunately, emotional attachment driven outburst is the first thing homosapiens resort to when somebody related to them or from their friend circle is opposed or criticized. Its more sad when a Sikh does that as Guru Nanak had set a prime example of keeping discerning intellect and ability above red-tapism by denying Guruship to his sons.

    Similarly, the blogger here seems to be extra-ordinarily perturbed from the critical review of the thesis written by her friend. Perhaps, it needs to be told to her that this is not how the intellectual and academic world is intended to work.

    Doris Jakobsh has done herself, her university and her thesis committee (if they care) a huge disfavor by writing this highly flawed thesis. It does not take a Ph.D. to find the flaws in her thesis, every other friend of mine found many misinterpretations and slippery slope arguments in her thesis.

  29. kamallarosekaur

    No, you misinterpret me. I am campaigning for real scholarship published in real academic journals to the standards of this world’s best historians on the subject of women in Sikh history, and Sikh history in general. This can include better source documents if they exist and translating authentic scholartly works from Punjabi.

    Sikhs have no excuse to be behind as authentic and respected historians and it doesn’t help when Sikhs, lacking method and the necessary scholarly training, mimic fanatic Christians and Muslims in our response to nonSikh academics.

  30. Sewak Singh Khalsa

    kamallarosekaur ji,

    You are wrong when you say – “I am campaigning for real scholarship published in real academic journals to the standards of this world’s best historians on the subject of women in Sikh history, and Sikh history in general. This can include better source documents if they exist and translating authentic scholartly works from Punjabi.”

    The above viewpoint of your automatically turns you against Doris Jacobsh flawed thesis. Did you read it? Do you think that Doris used authentic sources and did not do cherry-picking to pick those which were already challenged and proved trash by various Sikh scholars? I request you do some homework on this issue before blogging. Otherwise, your blog will be neglected by serious intellectual readers and become a safe house of a likewise thinking cult only. The danger then offcourse is the same as with a “koop mandookasya” (Sanskrit for “khoo da daddu” – frog of the well).

    Unfortunately you are once again wrong when you say – ” Sikhs have no excuse to be behind as authentic and respected historians and it doesn’t help when Sikhs, lacking method and the necessary scholarly training, mimic fanatic Christians and Muslims in our response to nonSikh academics.”

    I say so because this comment above from you is prejudice and assumption laden. You seem prejudiced that if a male critically reviews a female’s work it must be a male chauvinists attack on female. You assume that just being in a school give the person unchallengeable authority. Did not the thesis from Doris have flaws? Did not her thesis committee pass this erroneous work?

    Let me ask you this simple question – Do you or do you not agree that Doris Jacobsh’s thesis is flawed?

    We can discuss the matter further from here.

    Sewak Singh Khalsa

  31. kamallarosekaur

    I am greatly in favor of males or female, Sikh and nonSikh, critically confronting Dr. Jakobsh point by point. Whether you agree with her conclusions or not, she is Harvard educated and published by Oxford Press. Sikh Studies is getting more and more popular. Sikh historians are needed and I encourage Sikhs to go into history.

    But personally attacking Dr. Doris Jakobsh for exercising her human right to study Sikh history and publish what she finds, is foolish. The fact that she is pioneering the academic study of Sikh women’s history is not her fault. And again she doesn’t claim to be a Sikh, though she loves the SGGS.

    Like with every other religion on earth, all sorts of people are going to study us. We needn’t fear them and try to discourage them from being interested in us. Rather Sikh historians need to lead in this field.

  32. Sewak Singh Khalsa

    Dear kamallarosekaur,

    Your recent reply contains the following phrases/assertions/assumptions from you:-
    1. “Whether you agree with her conclusions or not, she is Harvard educated and published by Oxford Press.”
    2. “But personally attacking Dr. Doris Jakobsh for exercising her human right to study Sikh history and publish what she finds, is foolish.”
    3. “Like with every other religion on earth, all sorts of people are going to study us. We needn’t fear them and try to discourage them from being interested in us.”

    These does not seem to be on the point. I was surprised to read these comments coming from you after mine. Let me try to take them one by one:-
    1. What does being Harvard educated and published by Oxford Press has to with my response? Should we take everything coming from Harvard and Oxford Press as the “ultimate truth” and not challenge or critique it?

    2. Who attacked Doris Jacobsh personally? I’m baffled by this response from you. Can you show where I attacked her personally? There are few critiques available on her thesis on the internet and one of them is from Dr. Baldev Singh and another can be found on Sikhspectrum. Can you show me where in those critiques the reviewers have personally attacked Doris?

    3. Then you seem to suggest that all who found misinterpretations in Doris’s thesis fear research on Sikh history. Isn’t this assumption from you totally unwarranted and unsubstantiated? Nobody is discouraging Doris from researching on Sikh history. However, a fallacies work as that in her thesis will be challenged and subjected to critical analysis by Sikh thinkers, theologians and writers.

    Sikhs have not yet done all kind of research on their history and there are many such fields that are yet uncultivated. The reason for that is the Sikh have been persecuted all over the history and they did not have enough time at hand for such research. Now the focus is getting shifted somewhat and with time excellent research will surface. Nevertheless, I say again it does not take a Ph.D. to figure out the misinterpretations in Doris’s work.


  33. kamallarosekau

    Hi Sewak Singh Khalsa,

    Actually it does take a PhD to jump into Sikh History at the university level. Many many Sikhs have PhDs, but few in History. Persecution has not kept Sikhs from being well educated, East and West. NonSikhs can also go into doctorate programs and study Sikh History. The more interest in Sikhs and Sikhi, globally, the better.

    Not that we can stop people from studying us if we wanted to. I don’t want to.

    Of course those with PhDs in History can be wrong, even extremely well-trained and published ones, but who cares? The academic study of history is a conversation. Dr. Jakobsh looked at the source documents and she didn’t find evidence that Sikh women have ever had much equality down through Sikh history. Her book invites historians interested in Sikh women’s history to do the necessary academic research and respond.

    Again, I am eager to see Sikhs offer up our best trained and respected historians. There is time to fund young Sikh scholars interested in Sikh history.

    Slinging insults is silly. Better to rejoice in how interesting we are and shine.

  34. Sewak Singh Khalsa

    KamallaRoseKaur: “Actually it does take a PhD to jump into Sikh History at the university level. ”

    Sewak: What i said was that the misinterpretations in Doris’s thesis are so glaring and clear that it does not take a Ph.D. to notice them.

    KamallRoseKaur: “NonSikhs can also go into doctorate programs and study Sikh History.”

    Sewak: This statement is smelling other prejudice – that the Sikhs hate non Sikhs delving into their history. No genuine Sikh scholar will ever have any problem with non-sikh’s doing research on Sikhism. However, misinterpretations and propagandist work will always be challenged irrespective of the source where it comes from.

    KamallaRoseKaur: “Her book invites historians interested in Sikh women’s history to do the necessary academic research and respond. ”

    Sewak: Correct. So why get perturbed when somebody writes a critique of her work. Is it just because a Sikh wrote a critique and that person happens to be a male? This is sexism at its height.

    KamallaRoseKaur: “Slinging insults is silly. Better to rejoice in how interesting we are and shine.”

    Sewak: Let me ask again – who is “slinging insults” on Doris and where?

  35. kamallarosekaur

    Blessings Sewak Singh Khalsa,

    Again instead of slandering Dr. Doris Jakobsh as a scholar, try debating issues only. No personal attack. She is not evil. She is simply a historian like other historians.

    So simply name an issue you have with Dr. Doris Jakobsh’s scholarship, or her take on Siklh women’s history, and I will see if I can get her over here to respond directly. What sources are you doubting that she uses, and what sources is she leaving out that you are aware of?

  36. Sewak Singh Khalsa

    kamallarosekaur ji,

    I feel there is basic misunderstanding of the words – “slandering” and “slinging insults” on your part. I have repeatedly requested you to show where and who is doing such acts against Dorish. Instead of showing some concrete data that Sikh scholars, esp. males, are perturbed on Doris’s “scholarship” and they are “slandering” and “slinging insults” on her you choose to continue with the rhetoric without substantiating any further.

    As far as Doris responding to critiques of her work are concerned I would love to see her responses to the 2 critiques that are already awaiting here response. Did I miss her reponse? If she has not yet “scholarly” responded to those 2 critiques (Dr. Baldev Singh and Dr. Mann et al.) how will she find time responding to someone like me and that too on a forum? I seriously doubt it.

    …and without she taking part in honest discussions and scholarly response to critiques – how should I assume that she is scholarly and not just another Hew Mcleod who chooses to grossly misinterpret Gurbani and not respond to critiques?

    -Sewak Singh Khalsa

  37. kamallarosekaur

    Sewak Singh Khalsa,

    You are spreading falsehoods about Dr. Jakobsh. She is extra accessible and lots of Sikh reading here know this. She participates on Sikh internet forums and always signs with her name, address and phone number. She is out on Mr. Singh’s blog discussing her book.


    She has appeared in Sikh Times and at Sikhnet too.


    If people are positive and interested, Dr. Doris Jakobsh is happy to participate.

    But who wants to engage in cross-cultural history exploration with people who sound like Jerry Falwell or other fanatic Christians?

    “She is questioning the virgin birth of Jesus our Lord! She is a witch! A bad scholar! A feminist!”

    Nobody is going to believe Sikhs if we call Dr, Doris Jakobsh a bad scholar. Insulting Harvard, where she was trained, and Oxford, where she is published is not the best policy for Sikhs and Sikhi. Grow up.

    Again, Doris Jakobsh is very accessible if you are ready to talk issues, rather than simply fault her vocational training and standing in the academy.

    Again, choose one ISSUE from her book so we can study into it and see what we come up with. I will ask her to respond. Otherwise, I’m not publishing you again.

  38. kamallarosekaur

    In earlier comment above I confronted Baldev Singh about calling Dr. Doris Jakobsh a lesbian and he denied it.

    “I have never said those words about Jakobsh or any woman. – Baldev Singh”

    Good, because nobody is going to accept the words and opinions of any man who publically and sexually insults a woman scholar or any woman.

    Turns out that the words Baldev Singh really said about Dr. Doris Jakobsh were worse than simply calling her a lesbian. They are found at the end of his chapter 10 of his lengthy expose:


    …Her own adrenal gland gets titillated when she thinks of “manly Jati” (Jat female). Professor Jakobsh may not like me saying bluntly that from her writings one can infer as if she herself is suffering from “missing testicle syndrome.

    How embarrassing that Sikhs listen to this man and support his crazy talk! Consider her children’s and husband’s and her colleague’s reactions to this attacks?

    Sikhs are better than this!

  39. Helpful piece of writing. Thanks for sharing

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