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"No. Sikhism does not allow the use of alcohol or any other intoxicants for leisure use."
1. Does this include caffeine? Why or why not? If not, then how is caffeine different from other drugs that it isn't in that category of "bad drugs".
2. I know taking drugs for medical use it okay, because the doctors give you a safe amount so you will not get intoxicated or addicted. So does that mean if it's okay to do drugs in small amounts, such as cannabis or having rum cake, which has a small amount of alcohol?
I'm just answering these questions for my friend because he is saying that caffeine is a drug too and that you cannot drink drinks that have it it because it is an intoxicant too. I've answered that you don't see people falling over, acting drunk, committing crimes or saying "I want more caffeine or I will die". Nor do you see people drinking one can of coke or a cup of tea saying "I want more, I need more!". Also he has said "An overdose of caffeine, usually more than 300 milligrams, dependent on body weight and level of caffeine tolerance, can result in a state of central nervous system over-stimulation called caffeine intoxication. The symptoms of caffeine intoxication are not unlike overdoses of other stimulants. It may include restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia, flushing of the face, increased urination, gastrointestinal disturbance etc."
I would just like your views on this.
A1. Tea and coffee have been popular drinks that have been taken for centuries by many communities in the world; to now say that these are intoxicant is foolish. I can drink 10 cups and still walk in a straight line! All the Guru says about these types of foods is not to take those foods that cause discomfort or pain to the body; also to take a little of anything and never to indulge in anything just for the satisfaction of the senses.
Science will continue to progress and we will be bombarded with millions of bits of data all the time, resulting in a situation where we cannot process this information in a logical manner. Also, remember partial data can result in incorrect conclusion. So only draw conclusions when a full and comprehensive study has been carried out.
Then investigate the facts based on science but also on history and on Gurmat. So far as I can make out, if tea and coffee in moderation does not cause any discomfort or irritation in your body then that is fine; otherwise don't take it! For most people it is a relaxing drink which has no ill effect on the mind or body.
A2. As Sikhs, we should take our guidance first from our Guru then from science and society. Let us just review some of things that the Guru has promoted and what science/society used to promoted previously:
|#||year||What the Guru said||What science/society believed|
|1.||1500||lakhs of planets, solar system & galaxies||limited solar system, sun & stars orbit earth; no life elsewhere|
|2.||1600||Equality for women; allowed full rights||Women inferior; not allowed to vote; no real rights|
|3.||1700||Guru Gobind Singh say "no to tobacco"||Tobacco not harmful; encouaged by science and society|
|4.||1700||no to alcohol||Alcohol is good for you|
|5.||1700||no to meat||Meat is good for you!|
|6.||1700||Treat the earth, oceans & air with respect||Pollution and industry are good for society; no appreciation of the environment|
I hope you can see that the Guru has told us things that we are just beginning to learn from Science; so it makes sense to listen to the Guru as most of the things said by the Guru have turned out to be true!
Now going back to your question: When a doctor gives you a drug, it is to improve something that has gone wrong in your body; the doctor knows what is wrong and which medicine will make it better. Now when we take drugs ourselves, we take them for the taste or to "get a high"; we don't take them to get well as we are not doctors and don't understand the multiple effects of these drugs.
So there is a big difference! Now, if we cannot stop taking something even if we know that it does not help us or do us any good, then we have become addicted to it; we have become a slave of the drug. This is a serious situation. You need to understand that when one cannot stop taking a drug that is classed as a drug then this has become a problem for the person.
Now, because you cannot stop, you will find clever reasons why you take the drug; your mind will play tricks with you! It will try and show you other examples like caffeine, etc and try and make it look innocent and justify its use. But don't let these tricks defeat you.
It is very important to look after your body and treat it with respect; you only have the one and it has to last you a long time. Get serious and take action. To defeat any habit is a big challenge; it is not easy; you will need all the help you can get. Your friend who has this problem need your help - you will need a few of your friends to work with him or her.
Support is the key and Ardas is the answer. Together go to the Guru and do ardas daily; then keep busy in sewa and simran and other positive activities; keep away from bad sangat - people who do drugs - do not leave the friend alone unless he/she is going to rest. That way, with the support and positivity in your life, you will gradually turn away from this addiction.
Why do women have to always keep their head covered? Is there anything said in Gurbani that tells you to do so?