cover image The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life

The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life

Simran Jeet Singh. Riverhead, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-59308-797-8

In this lucid blend of memoir and self-help, Singh (Fauja Singh Keeps Going), executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Religion and Society Program, reflects on being Sikh in the U.S. and shares life lessons gleaned from Sikhism. Singh recounts growing up as a child of Indian immigrants in Texas and how the racism against Sikhs in the aftermath of 9/11 pushed him to become a religious scholar so he could “share my stories and the stories of my communities.” He tells how anti-Sikhism has followed him throughout his life, from getting called a terrorist at age 11 to being targeted by Punjab police in northern India because he was researching Sikhism in the area. The author proffers lessons based in Sikh principles and describes how the concept of seva (“a way of caring for others, and... ourselves”) encourages acts of kindness by viewing one’s well-being as connected with everyone else’s: “To live with love is to see no distinction between the self and the other.” Singh’s fleet-footed storytelling seamlessly moves between personal stories, Sikh theology and history, and thoughtful musings on what it means to live by a Sikh philosophy, adding up to an exemplary meditation on the faith. This has a lot to offer. (July)