Chapter 16. Sikh


Assuming it’s true that each hair is a divine tongue that repeats the name of God, what do you do about it? You can refuse to cut your hair; you can regard anything with hair, such as mice and hairy caterpillars, as divine; or you can take it as a metaphor or symbol, to honor all life, even though you may find it convenient to exterminate it or trim its ends. Of course we know that hairs, except for their roots, are not alive, and that no faith is alone in keeping meaningful rituals based on silly precepts, but we can, with respect, honor life with both hearts and minds.


Any kind of reminder to resist injustice is good if we don’t ignore it after it becomes familiar.

Māyā (worldly illusion)

If all were illusory, this teaching would be illusory, but the world is not illusory, unlike the notion that every line of this poem ends in the word “illusory.” Quite a few things are illusory, namely things that draw us away from the reality of our lives and, they say, from devotion to God— including ego, anger, and greed. These are very real, but, since they draw us away from God, illusory. And what is God other than the one eternal reality— truth and truthful living?