D&D Religion's "Ask About Sikhism" Thread Watch

Noor90
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#841
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#841
(Original post by freedomtocreate)
What do you guys think of people who are Atheists? I mean some Christians think that we are Satan worshippers (even though we don't believe in God or Satan). I was just wondering what you guys think.
Well we believe that God does not distinguish based on religion, race, creed, caste, color, ethnicity etc... To the Creator, we are all the same. Calling yourself a Sikh does not make you better than anyone else. Just like calling yourself a Muslim, or Christian, or Hindu, or Jew or Buddhist does not make you superior to others. The Guru Granth Sahib stresses that it is actions, not labels, that determine the worth of individual humans. A kind and compassionate Atheist is just as wonderful as a kind and compassionate Sikh, who is just as wonderful as a kind and compassionate Christian. Whether you believe in God or not doesn't matter. Our understanding of God is different to what you'd find in Abrahamic scriptures.

No, we do not think Atheists are "Satan worshipers", Sikhs do not believe in Satan either.
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TheKingOfTSR
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Hello...
2 questions:

1. What do Sikhs believe will happen to us after we die
2. Do Sikhs have any holy books or something?
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Noor90
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(Original post by TheKingOfTSR)
Hello...
2 questions:

1. What do Sikhs believe will happen to us after we die
2. Do Sikhs have any holy books or something?
Hi

1) Depends on interpretation of the holy text. My understanding is that once you die, you're dead and nothing happens. The atoms in your body get re-used, the jyot (light of God) you carry gets re-used as well, the Universe is basically one big recycling bin. But this is the only life you are going to have as the person who is reading this right now. There is nothing personal about your soul. Everyone and everything has the same light, and that light is what is generally referred to as "soul".

2) Yes, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which is our eternal Guru.

http://www.srigranth.org/servlet/gurbani.gurbani?S=y
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TheKingOfTSR
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(Original post by Noor90)
Hi

1) Depends on interpretation of the holy text. My understanding is that once you die, you're dead and nothing happens. The atoms in your body get re-used, the jyot (light of God) you carry gets re-used as well, the Universe is basically one big recycling bin. But this is the only life you are going to have as the person who is reading this right now. There is nothing personal about your soul. Everyone and everything has the same light, and that light is what is generally referred to as "soul".

2) Yes, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which is our eternal Guru.

http://www.srigranth.org/servlet/gurbani.gurbani?S=y
Thanks. I'll read it later

So there is no difference in our existence before we lived and after we die?
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Noor90
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(Original post by TheKingOfTSR)
Thanks. I'll read it later

So there is no difference in our existence before we lived and after we die?
From my understanding, yes, that is correct. Death will feel the same as before you were born. Nothing is going to happen. There are other Sikhs who would disagree though, so don't take me as the spokesperson for every Sikh in the world.
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TheKingOfTSR
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(Original post by Noor90)
From my understanding, yes, that is correct. Death will feel the same as before you were born. Nothing is going to happen. There are other Sikhs who would disagree though, so don't take me as the spokesperson for every Sikh in the world.
So if death is the same as if we were before born...then can we be born again?
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Noor90
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(Original post by TheKingOfTSR)
So if death is the same as if we were before born...then can we be born again?
Please clarify, do you mean to come back as the exact same person, who looks the same and thinks the same?
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viriol
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(Original post by Noor90)
You are very welcome



Ahh I think I see what is going on here. You are trying to understand Sikhi from an Abrahamic perspective. I was too, when I started. There is a huge problem with going about it like that. What has happened is that Abrahamic missionaries and scholars, in an attempt to categorize and subsequently subdue alternative religious thought, systematize other religions into simple lists. The result of this categorization, is a classification of belief systems into "Religion". Sikhi is not "a religion", because the word religion carries with it immense baggage borrowed from Abrahamic theology and academia. By answering missionary questions like "are you mono or poly", "what are your primary commandments", "what is considered sin", etc... we conform our understanding of Sikhi into a pre-shaped cubby defined by the Abrahamic understanding. This reduces our conceptual understanding of Sikhi into predefined definitions that are colonial in nature-- they are not our own.


That is why you are asking for the "fundamental dogmas" of Sikhi, I wanted to know myself, coming from an Islamic background, that is how I tackled Sikhi and tried to comprehend it; I soon found out that Sikhism does not fit into Abrahamic cubbies.


A general definition of dogma would be authoritative religious laws, deemed to be absolutely true, without any sort of proof. An example would be that all non-believers are going to hell in the after life.


Seeing as most of these laws come from sacred scriptures and texts, it is only fitting to first search the Guru Granth Sahib for any “laws”. Yet when one does read the Guru Granth, (which unfortunately is not too common an occurrence) we realize that that such a search would be in vain. While one is likely to find the praise and glorification of God, a call for Simran and Kirtan (meditation and recitation of the hymns), and even some words of a morale boosting nature, we cannot find any sort of “laws”. Why is this so?


The Gurus’ goal was not to set out how many times to pray, what to eat, or even how to eat it, but rather to create humans of such high moral character and thinking that they would be considered model citizens for any country. If there are any laws in Sikhism, they are ones of such universal nature that most, if not all of them would be found or represented in the International Declaration of Human Rights, or any other such charter.


How can Sikhism, based on divine hukum (accepting the will of God and living within it), not have any laws? What do the followers follow? Moral values, of trust, honesty, hard work, and many more are told to be means of reaching the ultimate goal of oneness with God, but there are no commands or orders. In other words Sikhism was made as a way of life. A philosophy of hard work, praise of the one and only Lord, and service to humanity. This is the beauty of Sikhism. Through Gurus’ infinite knowledge, they gave us neither laws nor orders, but rather extremely beautiful and universal poetry. Poetry which tells us how to be good human beings. Dogma, in every sense of the word, is contrary to the Sikh belief.


Sikhi does not concern itself with the afterlife. There is no promise of rivers of wine or 72 virgins waiting for you upon death. Sikhi is about living this life, here and now, and not worrying about things that are out of your control. It teaches us that we must all make the bed we sleep in, that there are consequences for our actions, not when we die, but during this life. All of us have free will, we can do whatever we want to do, the important thing to realize is that every action has a reaction, your actions don't just affect you, they affect the people around you as well. Guru Granth Sahib emphasises over and over again the need to be in control of your desires, wants and most importantly, your mind. Guru Nanak went as far as saying ""By conquering your mind, you can conquer the world." We are taught to think for ourselves, rely on our judgement, reason and logic, but to do that, we MUST be in control, you cannot walk that path if you are a victim to your mind, your wants, your desires.


One of the main goals, if not the single biggest goal, in Sikhi is to harness our minds. To make the mind a tool for us, not against us. There are 5 vices that we must constantly battle to be able to rule our minds - Kaam, krodh, lobh, moh, and ahankar. That is: lust, wrath, greed, attachment, and ego. This is the guidance from our Gurus, to not be slaves to our urges, but to use them to our advantage.


Sikhism is not the right path for someone who wants to walk through life sucking the thumb on one hand and holding onto God's finger with the other. We are allowed to do what we want. God is not here to baby us, tell us what to do in every situation, we are supposed to be self-reliant, self-dependant, to have faith in ourselves and be able to make the right choices on our own. The Guru Granth Sahib, like I have already mentioned, is not a text of rules and regulations, punishments and rewards. It is here to enhance our existence, not dictate it, it is a guide, the choice to listen and apply it's message is up to us.
Thank you, this is a good answer.

Now reading the above, I realize I still haven't answered your question. "What is Sikhism"? "What is a Sikh"? Well, according to the Sikh Rehat Maryada (code of conduct), a Sikh, by definition, is someone who believes in:


i. One Immortal Being,
ii. Ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak Sahib to Guru Gobind Singh Sahib,
iii. The Guru Granth Sahib,
iv. The utterances and teachings of the ten Gurus and
v. the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru, and who does not owe allegiance to any other religion, is a Sikh


Which means that it is not possible for you to be a Sikh and a Catholic at the same time. I like to study other religious philosophies, I enjoy reading the teachings of Jesus and think there is something to learn from everyone, but that does not mean I owe allegiance to any religion other than Sikhi.
And now I'm confused again. As I've said, I see little difference between your posture and my own, and even less for practical purposes. I don't see why a sikh could not be a christian or a buddhist as well if he believed in the other points of the definition?


Okay I am a bit confused on this one. Did you bring this up because you just don't like Dawkins, or because you were unsatisfied with the answer he gave? I think it is the latter, so which part of the answer do you disagree with? As a Catholic, do you feel like religious authority and morality need to be bestowed on humans by a greater force?
Both, but mainly the latter. I begin by disagreeing with the focus of his answer. He was confronted with a very pertinent question concerning the self-consistency of atheistic morality, which he replied with a commentary on theistic morality. Moreover, in his comment he both mixes morality and punishment and makes unfair comments about the Bible and its interpretation (someone who interprets the Bible the way he is showing it is interpreting it in a very different way from even the Vatican! - I know his lot loves to talk of "cherry-picking", but the truth is that the Bible is not meant to be a revelation book like the qu'ran, but rather a compendium of books of divine inspiration, which is very different; I am especially annoyed when these guys attack a position I don't have as they tell me I should have it).
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viriol
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#849
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(Original post by Noor90)
As a Catholic, do you feel like religious authority and morality need to be bestowed on humans by a greater force?
Oops! I hadn't finished! As a Christian, I feel morality is an intrinsic quality of God which is given to us by Him (and which we can only comprehend with a certain level of dettachment). As a rational person who happens to be a Christian, I feel the need for authority in a thousand-year institution.

By the way, is the absence of a Heaven a kind of "dogma" of Sikhism or is it simply not concerned with it?
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Ornlu
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#850
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Although culturally we're all aware what the answer is, is there any solid objection to interfaith marriage in Sikhi? I have a vague recollection that interfaith marriages were now being forbidden from occuring within Gurdwarae due to various reasons given by the Akaal Takht, however it seems kind of oxymoronical that Sikhi preaches religious egality yet prevents Sikhs from marrying non-Sikhs in a Gurdwara.

Just pondering... :holmes:
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Ornlu
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#851
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#851
(Original post by viriol)
Oops! I hadn't finished! As a Christian, I feel morality is an intrinsic quality of God which is given to us by Him (and which we can only comprehend with a certain level of dettachment). As a rational person who happens to be a Christian, I feel the need for authority in a thousand-year institution.

By the way, is the absence of a Heaven a kind of "dogma" of Sikhism or is it simply not concerned with it?
As far as my understanding goes, Heaven is not a 'heaven' per se, with big fluffy clouds and angelic beings floating about the place; Heaven is eternal unity and oneness with God (with God having no physical or comprehensible form i.e. not a large bearded man).
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viriol
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(Original post by Ornlu)
As far as my understanding goes, Heaven is not a 'heaven' per se, with big fluffy clouds and angelic beings floating about the place; Heaven is eternal unity and oneness with God (with God having no physical or comprehensible form i.e. not a large bearded man).
It never is...
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TheKingOfTSR
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#853
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(Original post by Noor90)
Please clarify, do you mean to come back as the exact same person, who looks the same and thinks the same?
Nope. Like another person. Soul given another body or something.
Consciousness of a new body felt by the same soul...along those lines.
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Noor90
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#854
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(Original post by viriol)
And now I'm confused again. As I've said, I see little difference between your posture and my own, and even less for practical purposes. I don't see why a sikh could not be a christian or a buddhist as well if he believed in the other points of the definition?
Hmmm well, the Sikh Rehat Maryada was drafted in the 20th century, and Guru Gobind Singh, the last living Sikh Guru, passed away in 1708, so for that reason, there are Sikhs out there who do not believe it is necessary, although most do adhere to what it says. The answer to your question, about whether a Sikh could also be a Christian or Buddhist etc... depends on what you mean by "be a Christian" or "be a Buddhist". Philosophically, the faiths are different, so I do not see how it is possible. I am not so well-versed on Christianity, so I apologize if I say something wrong, but I thought Christians believed that salvation can only be achieved through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and that goes against Sikhi beliefs, which teach that anyone can realize God on their own, there is no need for a mediator. In that sense, I do not see how it would be possible to call yourself a "Sikh" and a "Christian" at the same time.



Both, but mainly the latter. I begin by disagreeing with the focus of his answer. He was confronted with a very pertinent question concerning the self-consistency of atheistic morality, which he replied with a commentary on theistic morality. Moreover, in his comment he both mixes morality and punishment and makes unfair comments about the Bible and its interpretation (someone who interprets the Bible the way he is showing it is interpreting it in a very different way from even the Vatican! - I know his lot loves to talk of "cherry-picking", but the truth is that the Bible is not meant to be a revelation book like the qu'ran, but rather a compendium of books of divine inspiration, which is very different; I am especially annoyed when these guys attack a position I don't have as they tell me I should have it).
I see. Like I said, I am not as familiar with Christian beliefs as I am with Sikhi and Islamic teachings, so that is probably why I did not pick up on it. I focused more on the part of his answer that mentioned how we do not need guidance from a divine source to be moral or create a just society. Slavery, for example, was abolished not because God came down and told us to stop doing it, but because we were able to sit down, have rational discussions and come to the realization, on our own, that it was the wrong thing to do, without any sort of divine intervention. Same with women's rights, females did not get on equal footing with men in western society because God told us to do it, it was through rational discussion and dialogue, we came to that realization on our own.

And I think we can do the same thing for everything else as well. We've built giant mirrors that have allowed us to see the birth of the Universe, we've figured out how to split atoms and are getting ready to colonize a whole new world (Mars), I think we should be able to all come together and figure out a way to live side-by-side, create the kind of society we'd all like to be a part of, through rational dialogue, without God having to interfere and do it for us.

Oops! I hadn't finished! As a Christian, I feel morality is an intrinsic quality of God which is given to us by Him (and which we can only comprehend with a certain level of dettachment). As a rational person who happens to be a Christian, I feel the need for authority in a thousand-year institution. By the way, is the absence of a Heaven a kind of "dogma" of Sikhism or is it simply not concerned with it?
I agree with the bold. I think all of us are born with an internal moral-compass able to distinguish between right and wrong, I do not feel like religious people are somehow more moral than Atheists and Agnostics. Guru Granth Sahib talks about all of us having the light of God in our hearts, I think that's what the moral compass is.

As for the second part, I wouldn't call absence of Heaven a "dogma" of Sikhi, like I said, everything I am telling you is based on my own understanding and interpretation of Guru Granth Sahib. There are Sikhs out there who believe that upon death, you either merge with God or get reincarnated again, and if it is the latter, you must go through 8.4 million life-forms before you are human again. There are other Sikhs who believe it is a bit more complicated than that, upon death, if you don't merge with God, you either get some sort of a reward for your good actions (considered Heaven), or a punishment if you were an evil person (considered Hell), and then after that you go through the 8.4 million life-forms before becoming human again and having another chance to merge with God.

In Islam, there is belief of "Qiyamah", the day of Judgement, and if you make a conscious decision not to believe in it, it takes you out of the folds of Islam. I would call that dogma.

In Sikhism, you can believe whatever you want about the afterlife, the only thing that determines whether or not you can call yourself a "Sikh" is your actions in this one.
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Noor90
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(Original post by TheKingOfTSR)
Nope. Like another person. Soul given another body or something.
Consciousness of a new body felt by the same soul...along those lines.
Yes. I don't think there is anything personal about the soul in Sikhi, I know in Abrahamic beliefs it is like your ghost version, it is transparent, looks like you and thinks like you etc... but in Sikhi, it is more like a ray of light (jyot), there is nothing personal about it, we all have the same jyot, and it gets re-used over and over again.
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viriol
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(Original post by Noor90)
Hmmm well, the Sikh Rehat Maryada was drafted in the 20th century, and Guru Gobind Singh, the last living Sikh Guru, passed away in 1708, so for that reason, there are Sikhs out there who do not believe it is necessary, although most do adhere to what it says. The answer to your question, about whether a Sikh could also be a Christian or Buddhist etc... depends on what you mean by "be a Christian" or "be a Buddhist". Philosophically, the faiths are different, so I do not see how it is possible. I am not so well-versed on Christianity, so I apologize if I say something wrong, but I thought Christians believed that salvation can only be achieved through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and that goes against Sikhi beliefs, which teach that anyone can realize God on their own, there is no need for a mediator. In that sense, I do not see how it would be possible to call yourself a "Sikh" and a "Christian" at the same time.
Some Christians interpret "I am the way, the truth and the life" as meaning only those who believe in Jesus can be saved. My interpretation is that Jesus "being the way" means salvation is for those who follow the way of Jesus (his feelings and actions; as St. James said, "show me your faith without works, and by my works I shall show you my faith"). I think my view is better supported by the spirit of Jesus as well as more coherent with the gospels as a whole (Jesus sums up all the commandments in "loving God" and "doing unto others as you would have others do unto you", so...). From this point of view, what do you say?
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Reform
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(Original post by Noor90)
Well we believe that God does not distinguish based on religion, race, creed, caste, color, ethnicity etc... To the Creator, we are all the same. Calling yourself a Sikh does not make you better than anyone else. Just like calling yourself a Muslim, or Christian, or Hindu, or Jew or Buddhist does not make you superior to others. The Guru Granth Sahib stresses that it is actions, not labels, that determine the worth of individual humans. A kind and compassionate Atheist is just as wonderful as a kind and compassionate Sikh, who is just as wonderful as a kind and compassionate Christian. Whether you believe in God or not doesn't matter. Our understanding of God is different to what you'd find in Abrahamic scriptures.

No, we do not think Atheists are "Satan worshipers", Sikhs do not believe in Satan either.
So you believe it doesn't matter whether you're a Sikh or not.

Why is it then you're a Sikh? (curious question)
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Noor90
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(Original post by Reform)
So you believe it doesn't matter whether you're a Sikh or not.

Why is it then you're a Sikh? (curious question)
Go back to the last page and read post #826.
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Noor90
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(Original post by viriol)
Some Christians interpret "I am the way, the truth and the life" as meaning only those who believe in Jesus can be saved. My interpretation is that Jesus "being the way" means salvation is for those who follow the way of Jesus (his feelings and actions; as St. James said, "show me your faith without works, and by my works I shall show you my faith"). I think my view is better supported by the spirit of Jesus as well as more coherent with the gospels as a whole (Jesus sums up all the commandments in "loving God" and "doing unto others as you would have others do unto you", so...). From this point of view, what do you say?
I don't see why not, I suppose you could. Unless Jesus did something or taught something that the Gurus would not approve of, I'd say the answer is yes.

Sikhi was never meant to be exclusivist, Guru Nanak did not make distinctions between Hindus and Muslims based on their religion, he made distinctions between individual people based on their actions and conduct, you can call yourself whatever you want, what you do is important.

That being said, before he passed, Guru Gobind Singh, the last Sikh Guru, told Sikhs that from there on out, Guru Granth Sahib would be the eternal Guru of the Sikhs, each of the 10 living Gurus spread the same message, and that message is now contained within the pages of Guru Granth Sahib, so before anyone decides to call themselves a Sikh, they really should read it and see if they agree. Sikhi might be all about actions, but perhaps there is some part of Sikh beliefs that go against Christian beliefs? For example, Sikhs do not believe that God had a Son, and reject the idea of the trinity, so what would you do about that?
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viriol
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(Original post by Noor90)
I don't see why not, I suppose you could. Unless Jesus did something or taught something that the Gurus would not approve of, I'd say the answer is yes.

Sikhi was never meant to be exclusivist, Guru Nanak did not make distinctions between Hindus and Muslims based on their religion, he made distinctions between individual people based on their actions and conduct, you can call yourself whatever you want, what you do is important.

That being said, before he passed, Guru Gobind Singh, the last Sikh Guru, told Sikhs that from there on out, Guru Granth Sahib would be the eternal Guru of the Sikhs, each of the 10 living Gurus spread the same message, and that message is now contained within the pages of Guru Granth Sahib, so before anyone decides to call themselves a Sikh, they really should read it and see if they agree. Sikhi might be all about actions, but perhaps there is some part of Sikh beliefs that go against Christian beliefs? For example, Sikhs do not believe that God had a Son, and reject the idea of the trinity, so what would you do about that?
Good point. I think I can see how Jesus as the Son might be a hurdle there. That has to do with the miracles situation, I suppose. Do Sikhs really reject miracles (such as a child being born with no man as a father) or are they simply skeptical? If it's the former, I guess that is incompatible with Christianity. If it's the latter, then I guess you could accomodate belief in a few?
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