36 thoughts on “Diet Guru

  1. Hey Sarabjeet. Thanks for a coherent comment.

    I do not think, as you say, that “I and only I am right”. I think that we disagree. Nobody is obviously ‘right’ and nobody is ‘wrong’. So how should we behave when we disagree?

    If I try to tell you how to behave, so that your actions fitted better with my beliefs, then that would be bad. Similarly, for you to tell me how to behave is equally bad. The only solution is for each of us to exercise tolerance of the other’s behaviour. I’m happy to exercise tolerance over your decision to live your life as a Sikh. You need to exercise tolerance over my decision to post pictures on my website. In fact, if you wish to participate in a civilised society, you need to learn to do so happily. I’m genuinely sorry if you don’t like it, but the principle of tolerance is more important than either of us.

    Plus, comparing me to Adolf Hitler may have been a teensy bit of an over-reaction.

  2. Tartley,

    I would like to compare you with a mindless fool who takes pleasure in disturbing and hurting others. There have been so many requests to put down the picture; but you seem to actually enjoy those.
    First lesson for you is “if you throw mud towards sky, it’ll fall on your face”
    I believe that you have intentionally posted a picture here to hurt our sentiments but our founder is so great that a fool like you can not be equal to the dust of his feet.
    second lesson for you is “you are not ruling the whole world”
    Even you think that your views don’t hurt others but actually they are!!! and as a human in all his senses (working properly) pay respect to others. Going by your thinking even Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden etc. are justified in their mass murders.
    Finally it is not the question of your ego! it is the question of having a big heart. You must have worked hard to create this picture, but it is hurting the sentiments of millions of Sikhs worldwide! and you do not have the courage to accept your mistake.
    Grow up and get some mind! I know you can post some idiotic reply to it thinking that you and only you are right but believe me you are not!
    He is a great figure “worshiped” by millions across the world. and you tried to associate him with a commercial brand which even contained traces of pesticides. Ha you are a the biggest idiot I have ever seen in my life. May God bless you with some wisdom.

  3. I want to see the picture of Jesus taking coke. I assume “J” meant Jesus and not Jess, Postman Pat’s black and white cat.

  4. I’m not a religious man, but one thing that’s always bothered me by those who are is that they somehow get indignant on behalf of the gods in which they believe if they believe the icons or mythology of those gods has been violated. In this case, we have several contributors stating that this is disrespectful to their god; but actually they can’t really know that because, by logic alone, to know the mind of god would be to suggest that you are god like and by your own arguments, that’s also blasphemous. Not only that, but if we take the argument that if this is a god, a true manifestation of power and all things higher than man, why would that god care? You’re the most powerful being in the Universe; are you really offended that Tartley thinks you look cool with a Coke can? This whole argument reflects poorly on those who do believe in a god because it suggests that you are dogmatic, arrogant and haven’t really thought through the argument. In the unlikely event that god does exist, he/she/it isn’t likely to care either way (why have free will otherwise) and is incredibly unlikely to be the chosen manifestation of any one particular religion. For all any of us know, the generic guru (not the founder of Sikhism that you’re all claiming) image that’s instigated this argument might actually enjoy a refreshing can of Coca Cola. On a hot day it does taste good.

  5. Hey Jason.

    Sincere thanks for taking significant time and effort to explain to me your point of view so coherently. For the record, the art talent isn’t mine: I stole the images, as described in the blog post.

    I agree with you that what I currently think may not actually be correct. I should keep an open mind, and learn more. Similarly, so should you.

    You compare me to a person walking in the road, inconveniencing others by exercising his ‘freedom’. I agree with you that such a person is foolish. However, I do not think the comparison is apt.

    A more appropriate comparison would be to compare me to the author of a book, or to someone who paints in the privacy of their own courtyard. I do not believe anyone should be able to tell authors or painters what they can or cannot write or paint. If you do not like a book, then you may stop reading it. You may tell your friends that you don’t like it. You may tell the author that you do not like it. But you may not tell the author that he is not allowed to write such things. This is what you are trying to do to me, and it is not acceptable.

    You say that freedom ought to be ‘enjoying your own free space.’ You seem to forget that this is my free space. So why are you telling me what to do in it?

    You need only see my picture if you come to look at it. If you do not like it, then stop looking into my space.

    We are very similar, you and I, on both sides of this debate. I am doing something you don’t like, and you are doing something I don’t like. Why do you think that you get to tell me how to behave in order to make you happy? If I did take down the picture at your request, logically that seems that I should also get to command you to change your behaviour, in order to make me happy. I would start by demanding that you stop imposing your religious views on everyone else. It offends my most deeply held beliefs.

    Would you obey that instruction, if I gave it? If not, why do you think your demands of me are more important than my demands of you?

  6. hey tartley,
    Gud to know that you are an art enthusiast and want to edit pictures and display your talent for all the people.
    but, in this case,unintentionally,you have a chosen a wrong pic to edit.
    Thing is juss simple.He is the founder of religion,and using his image like this seems disrespectful to all the believers of Sikhism and also to many people who aren`t sikh. In your case, you dont find it disrespectful,daz okay for now.
    but i wud like to enlighten you why is this thing wrong according to me.
    you are saying that if you agree to remove the pic,it would be being submissive to the request of a particular religion. and if you do this now, it may curb your freedom of speech and expression.
    But my dear fellow,you c that freedom doesnt mean expressing watever you like and watever you find true. In this world,wen we are born, we have no prior knowledge, its the knowledge we gain here, some things are accepted as we can see and experience them whereas others are accepted as they are beliefs of may be your mom, dad , family, friends or ny1 else. So, in this case, you juss need to have a wide view and enrich your knowledge with new things about a hitherto unknown religion to you.
    m not saying that Sikhism is not tolerable, but you juss need to gather more information and understand the issue.
    so, this means that whatever you find is right may not always be the right in the correct sense, hope you understand this,
    i give you an example.
    suppose a person got enlightened with the fact that he has the freedom to do any thing he likes. If he starts walking criss-cross on the road and blocking the way for other traffic,this may lead to his accident and cause inconvenience to people,they also have freedom and right to travel freely on the road. Freedom doesnt mean disrespecting the rights and feelings of other fellow men. Freedom is enjoying your own free space,keeping care that your own interests and sources of happiness are the ones which do not conflict with the beliefs and interests of everyone.
    Coming to the inappropriate usage of the picture here. When you wrote in the starting posts,that you dont know about sikhism when you did this, that was understandable,but when you now know something about sikhism, still you are not realising. Lemme make clear to you that Guru Nanak Dev ji was a proponent of universal brotherhood and love.
    Your thinking that you havn’t done anything offending needs to be given a second thought.
    Guru Nanak Dev ji represents God to every Sikh and putting a coke bottle in his hand in the picture is disrespecting the followers. The thing is He was a pure person, a manifestation of God himself,as some people say like Jesus for Christians and Prophet for Muslims.
    Lemme explain you the reason for disrespect behind it.
    Consider a very holy man, infact, a manifestation of God himself, do you feel he ever felt the need for such synthetic products to quench his thirst??
    He doesnt have humanly requirements. He just has to be in accordance with his human appearance,so if his body would have ever felt the need for water, that would be quenched by water only..and not with these pesticide containing sugary water as you put it. His soul would be never hungry as the only thirst of being close to god has been fulfilled by god himself.
    I can understand that some of the things you read above could be beyond your comprehension, but , for more, you can google for sikhism and its ideologies and about Guru nanak dev ji.
    Hope you have understood that Freedom is not Absolute, True Freedom lies in Relativity.
    If your actions cause inconvenience to others and conflict with other’s space, ideas and beliefs then its not freedom, jus enrich your knowledge a bit with what things are conflicting and try to improve them so that you can realise freedom in truest sense.
    Hope you will put down this picture and you can do such things with any other mortal human,if you like.
    Thanks for reading this extremely big post.Hope i helped you.

  7. An iconic religious image grasping the ultimate consumerist icon? Sounds like you’re channeling Warhol. Forget the posters above, whose understanding of colonialism and tolerance is rudimentary at best, and give yourself a slap for trite unoriginality.

  8. Hey gurmukh singh, you seem to be suffering from rage issues and poor impulse control. Are you really as batshit crazy as you sound? If you would like to talk to someone about it, I am always here for you.

    I don’t like your icon – it has silly green tendrils, which make me think of broad beans, which I don’t like.

    Also, I have sent a copy of your message to the abusive behaviour complains at your ISP, TPG Australia, at http://www.tpg.com.au. Let’s hope your Mum doesn’t find out! You’d be *so* grounded!

  9. Hi Khalistan.

    Hey. All respect, but I don’t agree. I don’t think it’s wrong to post a picture of anyone, no matter who they are. I don’t think it’s an insult. I don’t think it’s wrong, nor do I think that my comments are silly or stupid, etc etc. You don’t seem to have really read what I wrote: I didn’t say the Guru was vengeful or vain. I said that since he *isn’t* those things, I don’t think he would be angry with me.

    You ask what I would think about people saying things about my religions. As I stated right above your comment, I may not like some things that other people write or say – but that does not give me the right to shut them up! Other people should be free to do and say what they wish. I am not in charge of what other people are allowed to do or say. And, importantly, neither are you.

    In that spirit, I am happy to approve your comment on my blog, and let you say what you think. Similarly, if you were writing on your own website, I believe very strongly that you should be free to express your opinions, regardless of whether I agree with them or not. I would be outraged if you wrote something on your blog which you believed in very strongly, such as your religion, but then someone else objected to it and made you somehow take it down. That would be wrong. I don’t believe that anyone should have the power to tell you what you are (and are not) allowed to say.

    So I don’t understand why you think you should have that power over me. Worse, you have not even attempted to tell me why you think what I did was wrong. Instead you have only been insulting and disrespectful to me.

    I don’t think the comments I made are stupid. To me, they represent something very important, about how people should behave to be respectful and tolerant of each other, in order to build the only chance we have of a peaceful world. In a way, these opinions are part of my religion. You are free to disagree with them, but your feelings and beliefs are not more important than mine. Why do you think you have the right to tell me what to do?

  10. u bastard, bloody coward, m.fucker if u have guts and if u really fathered by one talk to me…

  11. Tartley you….******* ******** *************** What on earth are you doing, posting an image with a founder of Sikhism. Who was the first Guru (Teacher) who lead people the right way. And your insulting my Guru (Teacher) like that. How can you do that?????? Honestly, whatever religion you are, would you like it if I did something like this to your religion????? That is utterly disrespectful and out of order. I don’t care if you did it for art or what other reasons. But this is wrong!!!! And how do you know if my Guru was here he would say something like this “on your way, cheeky young man.” That is just stupid don’t you think? And yes this is VERY DISRESPECTFUL and I want you to get rid of this IMMEDIATELY!!! I’m respectful to all religion’s and so should you. Unless you do not believe in GOD. If you have any issues with a Sikh person, it don’t mean you insult our Sikh Founder! You get what I mean. And what is the purpose of using my Guru? And please don’t make silly comments about “oh, if he was here he would be smiling and saying that’s funny” something along the lines. That’s just stupid. And no he is not vengeful or vain. If you want to know about Sikhism, I think you should study about our religion and see what things my Guru has done in his journey.

  12. Hey Manveer.

    Thanks for being nice about it, but I can’t take the picture down, for the reasons I gave above, in comment number 19. Unless anyone can persuade me to agree that those reasons are wrong, then I feel as though I have to stick to my principles, and do the right thing. The picture stays.

    It is not intended to be disrespectful. Surely someone as wise as the Guru himself would understand that. If he were here now, looking at this, I feel as though he would smile and say “on your way, cheeky young man”, and never think of it again. Or is the Guru vain and vengeful, a person who would be angry at me for this? I don’t think so – that would not be a very worthy spiritual leader, would it?

    Having said that, even if the picture was intended to be disrespectful, I would still say the same thing. Critisism of religion is an important part of debate that all members of society should be free to indulge in. Some religions are bad. Some religions are troubled by worshippers or leaders who are bad (e.g. paedophile priests) Immunity from critisism only helps to strengthen the evil. Only by discussing this openly, including critisism and disrepect, can we find out and expose them and save their victims.

    As for how I would feel if someone did it to my prophet, I’d say they should be free to do whatever they like, within the confines of the law of their land. I might not like it. I might complain about it, just as you are complaining about it now. But I would be mortified if my complaints resulted in obstructing the freedom of other people to say and think and paint and sing and do whatever they like. That would make me a bad person.

    I don’t think I’m going to respond to future comments which merely complain or insult without addressing my position as stated.

    Big hugs all round.

  13. okay this pic really is wrong have some respect for other people’s religion okay, this is the first guru of sikhism. I know you may not have any wrongful intentions but the fact of the matter is that showing our prophet in this manner is wrongful. How would you like it if someone did that to your prophet? I am requesting you to take this pic down and spread your message about whatever it is you are trying to promote on something else. Thank you

  14. Hey s singh. OK, so you disagree with me. That’s fair enough. But then instead of explaining why you disagree with me, or how you think I’ve misunderstood the issue, you simply insult me and sign off, which isn’t very constructive. How am I supposed to understand if you don’t ever explain your point, or don’t even make a point in the first place?

    If you want me to do something to make you happy, I am not obliged to jump to obey you. At the very least, the onus is on you to explain why. If you’re not going to contribute to that explaination, you’re not helping, you’re just being a dick.

    J, you’re just a dick to begin with, and I love you for it.

  15. tartley, you are almost a perfect case of ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’.
    You would understand the point people trying to make here, may be, after 5 yrs or 10 yrs (or may be nvr in your lifetime, who knows) when you would grow away from your teenage mentality (talking about mentality irrespective of age). Till then others have to suffer.

    With respect!

  16. Afroze,

    Sincere thanks for your genuine and polite post. Thanks also for your helpful and informative description of the Guru’s distinguishing features. Next time around, I shall be more aware of that.

    You put forward a very reasonable and appealing position, that for me to modify my behaviour in order to please other people is only a gesture of simple mutual respect, and can cause no harm. Your idea about the colonial implications is a new one to me, that adds another dimension to the issue, and I thank you for introducing me to new ideas and making me think about it a little more clearly.

    However, I cannot take the picture down, for the following reasons.

    Imagine a world in which I decided to obey your request, and take the picture down. There are many other groups in the world, of both religious and non-religious viewpoints. In addition to obeying your request about the picture, I would also have to obey their demands too. Some of them would be easy (Christians urging me not to kill people – no problem.) But other demands would not be so easy. Some of them are patently unreasonable (For example, those who would control my sexual preferences, or whether I should use a condom. I’m sure we can all agree that they can fuck right off.) Some groups would have demands which would directly conflict with others. It would be literally impossible for me to keep everybody happy. Some of the demands, I would never never have heard of. I would live in fear of having accidentally transgressed the demands of some distant religeon that I know nothing about.

    In short, if I have to obey the wishes of every group on the planet, I would not be allowed to do anything at all! None of us would! We would all be prisoners of the mind, disallowed from doing anything in case we offended one group or another. Do you wish for a prison world? One ruled by censorship and fear and oppression? That is what it sounds like to me, and it doesn’t sound that great.

    When we come into contact with ideas and behaviours and preferences that we are not used to, then if our reaction to that situation is for us to start telling other people that they have to change their behaviour in order to fit into our expectations, then that makes us selfish and lacking in empathy. In extreme cases, it makes us facists. Real party-poopers, at any rate.

    Instead, it is the duty of every person to understand that other people will have standards and expectations that differ from our own, and each of us needs to be tolerant of those differences, and let other people be what they want to be. This is the only way many different groups can sustainably all live together on the same planet. This is the opposite of the prison planet – this is a planet of maximum freedom, and of tolerance and understanding. This is the world I strive for. This is the right thing to do.

  17. chhinderpal,

    Hey there. Thanks for posting.

    Just to be clear, when you say “this person whoever he may be”, you’re talking about me. I did it.

    So, while I thank you for your contributions, on the other hand, un-thanks for starting out by saying that I have “dared to reveal my stupidity”. I don’t think that is a particularly helpful opening remark.

    If you want me to be helpful and to listen to what you have to say, especially since you seem to be making a request that I do something in order to make you happy, I would suggest that perhaps next time, not insulting me right off the bat is perhaps more constructive.

    Alright. So then you object to the picture which mixes the Guru with a “dirty cup”. The cup in the picture doesn’t look dirty to me, but perhaps you just mean “cheap and commercial”, fair enough.

    Personally, I don’t think that the Guru only ever used highly polished solid gold cups. If he had, that would have made him vain, and he was obviously far too wise to be vain. Have I misunderstood this? It’s possible I may have, and I welcome your corrections.

    So I think that he probably mostly used normal cups just like everyone else. I imagine he might have enjoyed I refreshing Coca-cola on a hot sunny day. The picture can be interpreted simply as my good wishes for the Guru, hoping that there were times when he got a moment of refreshment and respite from the hardships of the world.

    Your second post is a simple request to take the picture down. I acknowledge the request, and I thank you for your sincerity, but I am afraid I choose not to take it down. Not because I want to cause displeasure, but because I believe there are important principles of right and wrong at stake here. I am doing what I believe to be the right thing. I apologise if you do not like it I tried to explain this earlier, evidently I didn’t do a very good job. I shall try again below, in my response to Afroze.

    In your third post, you suggest I am benefitting from the patience of others by abusing the religion in an absurd manner. I am sorry you feel that way. It is not my intention to benefit from this situation, nor to deliberately cause displeasure. It would be easier for me to simply give in to your demands, and take it down! But I choose not to do that because I want to do what I feel is the right thing to do.

  18. hi Jonathan,

    From reactions above, you will probably have gathered by now that Sikhs find this picture offensive. I’m not Sikh, but as a religious person I can understand their sentiments entirely.

    First, to address your question of how you can distinguish Guru Nanak (the founder of Sikhism) from any other guy in a turban, his distinguishing characteristics are the halo around his head (visible here in the background), his yellow clothing and the brown beads on his turban. Google ‘Guru Nanak’ images and you will see what I mean.

    While he may, to you as a non-Sikh, be just another guy, to the Sikhs he is a revered figure, comparable in his stature to Jesus for the Christians – and so equating him to any other guy by placing in his hands a symbol of globalised pop culture, with all its ‘colonial’ implications, is offensive to Sikhs. This will remain a fact whether you choose to accept it or not.

    As for a reason for removing the picture, there is none other than mutual respect for your fellow human being, and an understanding of the fact that we do not live each in our own plastic bubble, with our actions having no impact or effect on others. You may have posted the picture on your own website, but it is still publicly accessible, and therefore has the potential to hurt deeply, millions of Sikhs around the world. Again, this is a fact regardless of whether or not you choose to accept it.

    But of course, at the end of the day, as your secular liberal quote above says quite clearly, your behaviour is your own to choose, regardless of the beliefs of others. Just know that sometimes the freedom to say whatever you want is best kept to yourself – particularly if you are going to hurt and offend an entire religious community just for the sake of having a laugh.

  19. tartley, this is an example of hurting sentiments of others. Though sikh religion including other prominent religions, advise to be patient to others, but when some tries to benefit from this patience by abusing the religion in absurd manner, then there is clear advice not to be patient. The Nineth Sikh Guruji (Shri Guru Teg Bahadurji) who gave their life to save Hindu religion (which is an example of extreme patience) advised clearly, neither to give fear to any body nor to be afraid of any body. Though this forum is not a suitable place to discuss about religions in detail, yet I alongwith others request you to atleast withdraw this picture, it is a humble request.I shall be highly obliged.

  20. the person, whosoever he maybe, who has dared to show his stupidness by mixing the picture of our Honourable Guruji Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, with a dirty cup in hand, must apologize from whole of the Humanity, as Shri Guru Nanak Devji is the GURU of whole HUMANITY AND NOT OF SIKHS. May Guru Nanak give him wisdom to beg pardon.

  21. Saw this today, in someone’s email sig:

    When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes, and following the local customs, just as I would in a church, synagogue or other holy place.

    But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. My behaviour is not his to command, no matter what his beliefs happen to be.

  22. Hi mitu,

    Thanks for your understanding and uninflamitory post.

    You still haven’t explained to me why I should take the picture down.

    Even if there was a good reason, you still then need to explain why your desire for me to take it down is more important than my desire that everyone should have their own freedom to live in the lifestyle they choose for themselves.

    My very best regards,


  23. Hi Jonathan,

    With due respect, before you do anything pls care to think that this might hurt others feeling. And, I believe this leeson is given by every religon.As, as human being if someone’s act hurt somebody else’s feelings (even unintentionaly). One should take full responsibility and apologies for it. And, I think as a human being I can expect that form you. We are Sikhs and we know what our religon stands for and what we believe in.But I am sure you do need to rnrich your knowledge about us.


  24. Hey mandip,

    Thanks for the comment.

    You ask ‘why would I do this’ – the answer to that is that it’s a cute picture. Isn’t that enough? Thomas’ original artwork is cool, and the juxtaposition makes an interesting statement about our relative attitudes towards these icons of tradition and modernity.

    Second, I don’t understand why it’s disrespectful. Nobody has explained that to me, even though I’ve asked many times. Because of this, I respectfully suggest that it is not disrespectful at all, and you are reacting with anger without thinking carefully enough about why.

    Surely the Sikh faith suggests that one should be tolerant and kind towards others. Live and let live. So why can’t I put up a picture on my own website?

    Your wish for people to do exactly as you want is understandable, but it is not as important as my wish that each person gets to choose for themselves what they will do. This implies we all must be tolerant of each other’s choices. Just as I am tolerant of your decision to live your life as a Sikh, so you must be tolerant of my decision to create this picture.

    My very best regards,


  25. Hey knicksxs,

    Thanks for letting me know. It wasn’t clear to me that the picture is the founder of the Sikh religion. To me it looks like any man wearing a turban. For the future, how can I tell the difference? Does Guru Nanak Dev have any special distinguishing visual characteristics? Or does this picture look like any other man wearing a turban and with a Sikh-style beard?

    Even if it is a portrait of Guru Nanak Dev though, I still don’t understand. Are you suggesting that Guru Nanak Dev, if he lived today, would never have drunk Coca Cola? He was just a man, not some sort of angel or god, so I imagine he might have enjoyed a Coca-cola on a hot day – unless there is something anti-Sikh about sugary water that I don’t know about.

    So why is it not OK for me to depict him doing something that, in my opinion, he probably would have done? I still don’t understand why it seems offensive at all.

    With respect,


  26. hiay 1st of all why would do this…if u dont have any repect 4 sum1 els beleaves and religious thats okay..but that dont mean u can disrepact it..
    so cld be kind enuf to take it thank you..

  27. You copied an image of the founder of the Sikh religion and put a coke bottle in his hand. Sikhism is the 5th largest religion in the world, and if all those people found out about this they would be very offended. If this is supposed to be a joke then you should be ashamed of yourself.

  28. Oh Christ. Desi, look, you need to tell me what’s up, or else I can’t do anything about it can I? I’d like to be helpful but you’re not making it very easy, are you?

  29. What? You’re the third person to leave such a message, but apparently none of you can be bothered to explain what it is you don’t like about it. For the record: I’ve no desire to offend **, but I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about – I don’t see that it’s disrespectful to anyone. If you really cared, you’d try to spread understanding and help me fix it. Instead you just get shirty, which gives me little incentive to try and help, and apparently makes you spell poorly.

    ** not strictly always true, but we’ll run with it for the moment

  30. i cant believe sum1 wud actually do this…
    hvn’t u heard of a thing called respect…
    shame on u.. ~_~…

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