Seeking Enlightenment

Staying on the path: Regarding the Sikh community in Phoenix, I feel there are a few points you failed to bring forward in your recent story ("A Path Divided," Susy Buchanan, January 10). I have been involved with Sikh Dharma for 20 years, and I have seen many people come, and many people go. It is my job to bless them as they arrive, and bless them as they leave. The reasons for joining a spiritual path are as varied as the reasons for leaving. I have no animosity for either. The Sikh community in Phoenix is inclusive of all people who have a relationship with our spiritual technologies. We are not a community based in culture or politics.

I hope your story was just the first story about the Sikh community in the Valley. I hope your next story illustrates our service to the community and the positive benefits from those who have experienced the lifestyle of Sikh Dharma and 3HO. The real story is about how American and Indian Sikhs have been worshiping for more than 10 years in peace.

The misconceptions regarding Yogi Bhajan are common. Yogi Bhajan serves as the postman, he is not the mail. We all love to get letters, we all love the mail, and we appreciate and respect the one who delivers the mail: the postman. It is as simple as that. He does not own Sikh Dharma. He began Sikh Dharma in the West 35 years ago, as a religious institution. The Sikh community spirit is here now, has been for 35 years, and will be here regardless of the coming and going of individuals. We welcome all to the Sikh temple, regardless of any race, religion, political agenda or national origin.

I encourage you to examine the bigger picture of Sikh Dharma in America, and notice the uniqueness of the Phoenix community. This is the only spot in the world where the American and the Indian communities have united, beyond culture and politics. It is true a few have gone here and there; that is the nature of these things. It is the nature of a spiritual path, for people to come and go, bless them all.

Whenever anybody stands up for anything, there will be the opposition. For 35 years, the community of Sikhs has been consistent, serviceful and respectful of all paths. We support inter-faith efforts to create unity amongst spiritual groups.

I thank Susy Buchanan for such a well-written story. She is insightful and talented and I hope New Times has the wisdom to adequately compensate her for her efforts.

Dr. S.S. Hari Simran Singh Khalsa

Champs and Chumps

A champ: You overlooked a public official in Maricopa County who well deserves a "Darling Award" ("Valley of the Drolls," January 3) for his vision and his ability to bring together various -- often contentious -- elements for a common goal: Ed Boks, director of the county Animal Care and Control Services. Despite substandard facilities, years of financial neglect that translate into low salaries and minimal services, and an agency that has been an occasional "homeless" political football in the county government structure, Mr. Boks brings boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm to the goal to make Maricopa County a "no kill" region in which tens of thousands of otherwise adoptable dogs and cats are no longer euthanized each year. Thanks to the support of some dedicated community leaders and donors, and Mr. Boks' leadership, this once-unthinkable goal is truly reachable.

John Wintersteen
Paradise Valley

A chump: Congratulations, New Times! Though the new year is only a week old, the January 3 cover("Last Year Really Blew!") is the most tasteless cover of the year. I don't know whether it was the cartoon graphics (complete with fireball -- kewwwwl!) or such great writing as "Our writers sifted through the rubble and rescued a handful of community leaders" and "Others should be left on the scrap heap," but you have truly outdone yourselves. Simply a brilliant job by your staff and editors in commemorating the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history. When you think of nominations for your second-ever Doofus Awards, at least you will not have to look very far.

Joe Caspermeyer

Weird Science

Researching the truth: Thank you for your article ("Lab Rats," by Robert Nelson December 20). Although it wasn't as intense as expected, it will be helpful to those concerned about higher education in Arizona. The saga continues.

Leaving the University of Arizona for better pastures, biochemist Hans Bohnert said, "We have an administrative structure that is not working. Too many cooks is one of the things . . . to some degree we have an inbred administrative structure." How true! This inbred structure produces many an underdeveloped conscience, and with the aid of attorneys there is total lack of accountability for administrative failures.

Please, New Times, do not hesitate to extol the omissions of the taxpayers' guardians of education. Every day is another opportunity to pull the rope a little bit tighter. To do otherwise would allow the little sordid brains to corrupt forever, engineering the collapse of civilization.

Delores Grayam


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