Thursday, October 05, 2006

I See No Stranger

Last September I went to the vernissage for an exhibit on early Sikh art at the Rubin Museum. Its opening was a total success. The museum’s personnel were friendly, the live music was wonderful and the food was plenty and delicious. The place was packed, and everybody was visibly having fun.

That evening friendly and knowledgeable Sikhs served as guides to the exhibit. Sikhs are a prominent group in New York, so although to some it may seem a religion from a far away land in Northern India, nowadays it is closer to American shores.

Sikhism is a religion that takes elements from both Hinduism and Islam. Their founder, Nanak (1469) was originally a Hindu. Upon deep meditation, Nanak considered that there should be no discrimination based on “faith, caste, gender and station in life.” Most religions diversify into sects, not always in friendly terms. The Hindalis are described as a “heretic” sect by the Sikhs.

This and many other interesting facts about this religion are well explained in the exhibit’s book guide “I See No Stranger” which was available at the opening. The exhibit lasts through January 29, 2007.
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