Friday, November 19, 2010

Guru Nanak Dev Ji Birthday

Wishing Everyone a Happy Gurpurab- Guru Nanak Dev Ji's Birthday (November 21, 2010)


Guru Nanak founded and formalised the three pillars of Sikhism:

1. Naam Japna: Guru ji led the Sikhs directly to practise Simran and Naam Japna – meditation on God through reciting, chanting, singing and constant remembrance followed by deep study & comprehension of God’s Name and virtues. In real life to practice and tread on the path of Dharam (righteousness) - The inner thought of the Sikh thus stays constantly immersed in praises and appreciation of the Creator and the ONE ETERNAL GOD Waheguru.

2. Kirat Karni: He expected the Sikhs to live as honourable householders and practise Kirat Karni – To honestly earn by ones physical and mental effort while accepting both pains and pleasures as GOD's gifts and blessings. One is to stay truthful at all times and, fear none but the Eternal Super Soul. Live a life founded on decency immersed in Dharam - life controlled by high spiritual, moral and social values.

3. Vand Chakna: The Sikhs were asked to share their wealth within the community by practising Vand Chakna – “Share and Consume together”. The community or Sadh Sangat is an important part of Sikhism. One must be part of a community that is living the flawless objective values set out by the Sikh Gurus and every Sikh has to contribute in whatever way possible to the common community pool. This spirit of Sharing and Giving is an important message from Guru Nanak.
(From "Sikhiwiki.com")

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Letting Go

This was on the Mr. Sikhnet website (http://www.mrsikhnet.com/2010/04/26/letting-go/). Taken from Ek Ong Kaar Kaur's blog.

"When I was a young girl, my family lived in an old 2-story home in a quiet neighborhood in South Jersey. Our house was only a few blocks away from St. Rose of Lima, the Catholic elementary school that my brothers and sister and I attended. We used to walk to school every morning through the snows of winter and the honey-suckle blooming of spring. So many children lived on our street that summer became an endless game of bike-riding, catching lightning bugs and playing Blind Man’s Bluff.


I’d like to remember my childhood as idyllic. But I was a little too internal, introspective and bookish to fit in with more than a handful of friends. Those early years passed in the paradoxical angst of feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere; and having deep connections with a small group of people who understood what I meant, and felt exactly the same way.

Then, in the 8th grade, right before starting high school, my father got a job in Texas. We were moving. I would never see my friends again. (Or so I thought.) Even worse, I would never see that cute Italian (who shall remain nameless) again. It didn’t matter that the cute boy never looked at me, or that my closest friends promised to write. My life was comfortable. It was what I knew. And without having any say in the matter, it was about to completely change. My last day in New Jersey, as we pulled out of the driveway, the neighborhood kids rode past on their bicycles, waving and shouting good-bye. It was a teary but joyful escort away from the familiarity of my childhood home.
Since that time, letting go has been hard for me. I don’t like change. I want my life to be cozy, to have a sense of routine and stability. The same faces around for years; bonds and relationships that survive the test of time. I am not by nature a rolling stone. I am a stone that sits there, year after year, sinking deeper into the earth, covered with a soft, lacey moss while butterflies perch on me, and squirrels scamper across me, and the trees around me get older and more beautiful with the years. My ideal life is to be still, enjoy and watch everything in peace.
All of this is probably why, when the Universe needs to create transformation in my life, it tends to involve a Cosmic sledgehammer. Change rarely happens in my world in a slow and gradual manner. Rather, it comes through total upheaval, all at once, with nowhere to hide, no room for negotiation and definitely no road back.

I wish I could say that moving from New Jersey to Texas was the most traumatic experience of my life. But of course, it wasn’t. It was a child’s initiation into what the Masters call the “impermanence of life.”
I began studying yoga in my early 20’s. Yet, it is only in the last year that I have come to understand why yoga is connected with the image of the Divine called Shiva. Shiva – the Lord of Destruction. Shiva – the meditator and aesthetic. It isn’t so mystical, really. Destruction and endings are just so incredibly difficult to navigate that humans had to develop a way to cope. Perhaps yoga began as an experiment of how a person could keep himself sane while everything around him fell apart. Perhaps we reflect something in the Cosmic Play that mirrors an inner cycle within ourselves. Endings happen. Change is inevitable. Transformation can hardly be avoided. So how do we keep ourselves balanced through the experience? How do we handle letting go?
No one escapes the power of destruction. The problem is, from a spiritual point of view, destruction and learning go hand in hand. Sometimes, endings are the perfect path to find the inner strength of our own Indestructibility. It is only when we are touching the death of everything we know that we see within ourselves the Light that never dies. When the environments collapse, when the relationships no longer provide the support they once did, we have a chance to experience that we don’t actually depend on that, anyway. There is a soul in me, a spark of Divinity, a Divine Identity that can carry me through. And in that moment when we realize our survival depends upon what is within us, not on what surrounds us, then we experience ourselves as God.
The paradox of it is that you can’t have that experience when everything is cozy and nice and easy. That experience comes when everything challenges you and fights you – which is perhaps why Shiva, who represents the wisdom of yoga, also has to represent total annihilation. The path to self-realization requires the pressure that only intense change can bring.

The first week in Texas, I spent with my family in a condo at the beach along the Gulf Coast. I remember the sound of the ocean while I sat on the porch, the sun beaming down, the sand gritty in my teeth; and me, as usual, with my nose in a book. In the years ahead, it wasn’t that life was better or worse as a teenager than it was when I was a child. In retrospect, I dealt with many of the same challenges, and continued to experience many of the same blessings. It was simply on a bigger scale.

That is what I have found throughout my life. When something ends, after a time of repose, something new begins. Not better. Not worse. Just – more. More powerful. More expansive. More deep.

That, to me, is the nature of growth. We grow in cycles. When we’ve reached the limit of what we can learn and experience in one matrix of time and space, the Universe accommodates us – destroying one reality and replacing it with something new. We go through so many cycles in the course of this life. And then even more cycles when this life, itself, needs to end in order for the soul to continue progressing. Destruction, wisdom, endings, union – they all work together in the Cosmic scheme of things.
But with destruction and endings, how do we survive them? The common sense, ages-old answer. Just BREATHE.

And how to touch the Divine within you? The foundation of all spiritual and yogic wisdom? Just BREATHE.

It’s taken me 20 years of study, but I finally understand. These are two sides of the same coin for a reason.

Yours humbly in Divine Light and Divine Love,
Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa. "

Which part of this peice resonates with you? Since this peice is about change, I think everyone will find some part that really speaks to them. I think a very powerful part was "It is only when we are touching the death of everything we know that we see within ourselves the Light that never dies. "

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What Can a Banana Do for YOU?

Here is an article from sikhnet http://www.sikhnet.com/news/eat-bananas-and-you-will-never-go-bananas (originally from http://www.ou.org/) about the health benefits of bananas- just amazing!
Eat Bananas and You will Never Go Bananas

After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.
First of all, never keep your bananas in the refrigerator. Just leave them out at room temperature.

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking.. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal..

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels.
These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack..
Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"
Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time! I will add one here; want a quick shine on our shoes?? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe...polish with dry cloth. Amazing fruit !!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Youth Volunteerism- Why volunteer?

Why Volunteer?
I have been making presentations on youth engagement, and just recently one with the Canadian Cancer Society on the value of Volunteerism, so I decided to expand on that and talk about why it’s important to volunteer, as well as some of my experiences. I started off volunteering by example of my family, and Sikhism’s values of helping others. I volunteer because it’s a great way to make a difference in people’s lives, and to give back to the community. I will not only be helping the organization I am volunteering for, but more importantly those who rely on the services of that organization. It has allowed me to apply my skills and talents to impact the community, and motivate and inspire others. Volunteering has also provided me with many valuable opportunities and has shown me that I can do things I never would have thought I was capable of doing. There are volunteer jobs for everyone. It may take a while to find the right job for you, but it is worthwhile to explore, because everything that you do until you find that job is helping develop you as a person. In these tough economic times, many organizations are relying on the help of volunteers. There are many volunteer opportunities- whether you are interested in animals, art/culture, disaster relief, education, health, animals, addictions, multiculturalism, sports, religion, or something else. In volunteering there are two main ways that it will help you: personally and in terms of your career. From a personal perspective, volunteering allows you to grow as a person- learn new skills and talents, discover more about yourself, try new things, meet new people, get to know and connect with the community. I have learned countless skills from volunteering, including leadership, interpersonal, teamwork, problem solving, organizational, time-management, how to promote events, and the list goes on! Volunteering allows us to try new tasks, such as creating a committee, planning an event, or teaching a language, which keeps things interesting, and allows us to continue to learn. Volunteering allows us to learn to work with different people. I have learned how to work with elders, young children, and people in various life situations. Working with different people can make you understand their point of views better. Thus, Volunteering allows you to gain a new perspective and understanding of the world. One of my volunteer experiences was being a peer tutor in high school, and it helped me learn to adjust my expectations according to other peoples’ skills levels- their strengths and weaknesses. It was a valuable and rewarding experience as one of the students I worked with, who was failing at the time, went on to get excellent grades and become a tutor himself. In volunteering we explore strengths, develop new interests, hobbies, experiences, and meet people we would not otherwise meet. The more I volunteered the more opportunities arose. One opportunity can lead to many others, for example I met someone through volunteering that referred me for a Youth Dialogue on sustainability, and someone I met there gave me the opportunity to be a youth representative at a BC Youth Congress event in Vancouver, which led me to the opportunity work with the Fraser Basin Council, and the City of Prince George, and be a youth leader in sustainability for our region. I got to be a youth representative in sustainability processes such as Smart Growth on the Ground, and myPG, and make a presentation for city council as well as at various climate action events. Volunteering can also improve confidence and self esteem. I used to be very nervous when I talked in front of people- my knees and hands used to shake, but it eventually became something I love to do because I became comfortable speaking in front of very large groups of people. This confidence came from volunteering to make presentations. Volunteering helps you feel good. If you are going through a hard time, it can help you get your mind off things and act as a sort of therapy to find new purpose and move on. You feel a sense of accomplishment. As a volunteer you can be an agent of change, spreading hope and positive energy that “revives your spirit,” and gives you a sense of empowerment, and independence. It makes you feel satisfied, and lets you appreciate what you have. The health benefits include: low level of stress, better immune system, and better sleep, among others. Volunteering can also challenge you, and make you step outside your comfort zone. One of my favourite things in volunteering is networking, and meeting people that become your friends, your mentors, your inspiration, or perhaps you will be their role models and will do the same for them. I encourage you to volunteer for things you really have a passion for- for me it is volunteering on sustainability initiatives and working with youth. Volunteer work is a lot of fun when you love what you are doing. Volunteering can help you fight for a cause you believe in, learn about a cause, change people’s lives, and take action, help friend/relative, get to voice opinion about it, and make use of resources you otherwise would not have access to. Volunteering has allowed me to learn about various issues and causes such as Cancer and Diabetes. Because of volunteering I have developed an interest in sustainability, and the future of our city in terms of that. Volunteering helps me leave my mark in the world .You can become a role model to others, old and young, to show them, that each person really can make a difference on the lives of others, and that through volunteering we can learn a lot. In terms of career: Volunteering helps you explore a career early on, build your resume, learn how to do interviews, build career-related skills, find out if a job is suitable for you, learn about organizations from the inside, improve your job opportunities (and can lead directly to job opportunities), obtain letters of reference, and fulfill career/education requirements. Volunteering as a Junior Volunteer at the hospital has helped me gain work experience for a health-related career. It has helped me learn about the hospital environment in a way I would not have otherwise been able to experience. For school, it can help you get credit for a class, gain entrance to university or college, and get scholarships (major factor in many scholarships). You can also learn a new language, which will also improve career opportunities.
Many organizations also have great recognition programs, they hold lunches/dinners, or have awards for their volunteers. Also there are awards available for volunteers. For Youth under 18, you can apply for the Canada Day Youth Award if you have over 100 hours of volunteer work. Cities also have their own recognition programs. Prince George has the Youth of the Year award for youth under 18, and many other volunteer recognition awards for others. Your work as a volunteer is really appreciated! To look for local volunteer opportunities, just ask your local volunteer center- ours is Volunteer Prince George- www.volunteerpg.com . Join their email list, which sends emails monthly with a long list of opportunities. To start a volunteer project visit http://volunteer.ca/files/youthworks.pdf for some excellent tips. Volunteering is a lot of fun and can also be something you do with friends and family. You Can make a difference!
References: www.volunteer.ca

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cool Science

This is a cool science video of Steven Spangler on the Ellen Degeneres Show.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another Sikhi Story

The Journey towards Sikhi


Author: Dorian Gordan-Bates

Although I was not born into a Sikh family (or even an Indian one) I grew up listening to stories from ancient Hindu epics such as the Ramayan, and stories about the legendary bravery of the greatest warriors ever, the Nihang lions of the Punjab. My mother is French and my father is English, and I have been living in France most of my life. My father’s ancestors were in India during the days of the Raaj, and my great great grandfather, who was a soldier, fought in the Anglo-Pathan wars. After leaving the army, he got married to a Punjabi girl called Amrita. My ancestors have therefore had a direct relationship to Sikhi, and perhaps this is how I discovered it.


In the 1980’s, my parents lived in New Delhi for five or six years. In 1984, my father (who was a journalist at the time) was sent to the Punjab to write about the infamous Operation Blue Star. I have been told about the massacre of the Sikhs that followed Indira Gandhi’s assassination, and this has profoundly touched me as a child. How could such peace loving people, who had always been willing to lay down their life for justice, be targeted as terrorists and treated in such a horrendous way?

I also could not understand why Sikhs were portrayed as comedians in almost all Hindi films, and so many jokes were told about them. Why are they shown so much disrespect? The reason for this, is that they do not dress or act like other people. They are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, to wear their turban with pride and dignity, and to live according to their own standards, not to blindly follow vane fashions and trends like most people in this superficial world that we live in. A true Sikh concentrates on pleasing God and serving mankind, and not on his or her physical appearance and selfish desires. For me, Sikhs are a beacon of hope in this world of materialism and godlessness.

The exemplary lifestyle of Sikhs has always inspired me, and although I have not started wearing the 5 K’s (which I hope to one day, with Guru’s grace) I try to adopt as many aspects of Sikhi into my life, such as Naam Simran, Japji. Although I have never touched alcohol or tobacco in my whole life (who knows, perhaps this was a sign?), but I try to give up eating meat and other bad habits. I keep a beard, but leaving my hair uncut is still a challenge which will take some time to overcome. I guess I am still afraid of being different.

It is amazing that despite being the world’s youngest religion, Sikh history is so rich and contains so many great heroes and martyrs compared to other faiths. Reading about these saints has changed my life, because through their amazing sacrifices, I have discovered the strength and power of faith. When I am in trouble or in a difficult situation and I feel afraid or tempted to abandon, I try to remember the great heroes of Sikhi such as Baba Deep Singh, Banda Singh or the Sahibzade who all showed exceptional courage in the face of adversity. What better role models then them?

Sikhi is more than a religion; it is a wonderful and perfect way of life which leads to the Supreme Being, to Waheguru who is the Lord of all Creation. It is a complete religion with a simple message that anyone can understand and follow. It matters not whether one is born into a family of scholars or into a family of farmers: Sikhi teaches people to respect everybody irrespective of one’s social class or ethnic background. In fact, this is one of the first things that attracted me to Sikhi: the beautiful message of love, respect and tolerance that the ten Gurus taught the world.


Born in a time when religion was in decline, when Muslims hated Hindus and when Brahmins hated the so-called low-castes, Guru Nanak’s divine mission was to remind mankind that it matters not what religion one follows or what family one was born into. It matters not whether one is dark or fair, or whether one is female or male. We are all brothers and sisters, equally children of God. Therefore, Sikhi is unique in the way that it emphasises on a beautiful word that unfortunately the world has forgotten: equality. There is no other religion which regards all mankind as equals, as brothers and sisters. Usually Muslims would regard their fellow Muslims as family, and in the same way, Christians would regard their fellow Christians as brothers and sisters. For those who are outside the faith, there is no salvation. But Sikhi preaches an unconditional love for all mankind, irrespective of religion, nationality, race, caste or creed. It is the duty of all Sikhs to serve humanity selflessly, and to disregard any differences between men.
According to the religion of Guru Nanak Devji, the blessed Lord is both within and beyond His Creation. He resides within all living creatures, and that is what makes Creation so beautiful. To serve humanity is to serve God, and one cannot love God if one does not love his fellow man. As the saying goes, if one cannot see God in all, one cannot see God at all. This is what is so beautiful and unique about the Sikh Dharam. It is a humanist religion which teaches love and brotherhood. What the Gurus have taught us is very relevant today, and I believe that anybody can learn from Sikhi in the same way that the Sikh Gurus learned from great Islamic sages like Kabir or Hindu sages such as Ravidas.

When people force their religion on you, it is difficult to accept it. But when people are happy to teach you about their religion but without trying to trick you into converting, you feel much more comfortable and willing to learn. This is what led me away from Christianity and Islam, and led me towards Sikhi. I explored various faiths including the 3 religions of the Book (Judaism, Islam and Christianity). Each of these religions teach truths (such as ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’, an ideal which is crucial in Sikhi), but also falsehoods.

For example, I was lid by Christians that if I did not accept Jesus as my saviour, I would go to hell. And I was told by Muslims that if I did not accept Muhammad as Allah’s final messenger, I would go to hell. How can this be the truth? According to their way of thinking, it is more important to follow these dogmas than to be a good person. For example, many Christians believe that if a non-Christian is good and kind to others, compassionate and generous he will still go to hell if he does not believe in Jesus, and similarly many Muslims believe that even good people go to hell if they do not believe in Muhammad as final messenger. This can only lead to arrogance and hatred.

Sikhi on the other hand, teaches the beautiful idea that all paths lead to God.
God is like a vast, infinite ocean and all faiths and creeds are like rivers. Like all rivers lead to the ocean, all religions lead to the Eternal Being. Sikhs believe that all souls are divine, because all personal souls (atman) are part of the Supreme Soul (Waheguru). Therefore, compassion and loving kindness are the essence of true religion, not rituals or dogmas which come second. And this is the case in Sikhi, as illustrated by the great Guru Tegh Bahadur Dev ji who sacrificed his own life for people of another religion. This is because he did not see them as Hindus, as Pandits or as Kashmiris: he saw them as fellow human beings, as God’s children, and they needed his help.
I am forever grateful to the Lord that He has made me discover Sikhi. Nothing has been a coincidence, and I feel that it is Waheguru who has led me to Sikhi, that it was according to His will, and that everything had already been planned by the Master of Life. Once I began studying the Sikh religion, I simply could not stop. I have fallen in love with Sikhi thanks to God, and thanks to Sikhi I have fallen in love with God. Sikhi has taught me how to live my life as a good human being and as a humble servant of mankind. I pray to Waheguru for help in following the path of the blessed Gurus and that I may one day become a true Sikh of the Khalsa Panth.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Inspiring Article Posted in theLangarHall.com

On Common Ground


Posted by RP Singh in General, Sikhi on 27th May 2009


Years ago, I attended a Sikh retreat far from home – outside of the United States and outside of my “normal crowd.” It was interesting to experience Sikh life in a different country…and I think Bono had it right when he said, “We are one, but we’re not the same.”

The first morning we all woke up at Amrit Vela and joined in Nit-Nem and Shabad Keertan. Everybody was in to it and nobody seemed distracted. It was one of those powerful “Sangat” experiences where you lose yourself and become part of the whole. I loved it! I was so energized after that Deevan and was excited for all the weekend’s activities to come…then came breakfast.


It was a little chaotic as we entered the dining hall. Although the meals were vegetarian (God help us if they weren’t), a group of Singhs were arguing with the aunties demanding to see the packaging for the bread. They were convinced that this particular brand of bread had an animal byproduct as an ingredient. I skipped the bread and quickly moved pass, but finding a place to sit became an ordeal in itself. Although there were at least 50 people at the retreat, less than half were eating in the dining hall. I looked around and saw a handful of Singhs back in the kitchen sitting together eating from Sarab Loh (iron) bowls, cups, and plates. Another group of Singhs were heading back to their dorms to eat the food they brought, as their maryada only permitted them to eat food prepared by other Amritdharis who followed their same maryada. As for me, I felt like the new kid walking in the cafeteria on the first day at school trying to figure out which group I could fit in to. What happened to that warm and fuzzy feeling I had sitting in the Deevan? Now this Sangat, who couldn’t share a meal together, felt cold and distant.

Turns out mealtime wasn’t the only time we found ourselves at odds. We spent much of the weekend arguing over how many Baanis (prayers) one should read daily, or whether Raag Mala is Baani, or the authenticity of Dasam Granth, or whether Keertan should only be sung in Raag. We even debated over what colors should be prohibited for Sikhs to wear. Considering I grew up in a Sikh community that still argues over whether keeping “Kesh” is necessary, this was all quite a culture shock. The whole experience was difficult for me to swallow.

I thought to myself…with all the challenges we as a community face in the real world, it is disheartening to see how disjointed and fragile we really are. If we can’t agree on some of the most basic of Sikh principles and practices, how can we really progress as a community?


Mid-way though the retreat, I became frustrated. I mentally checked out and just waited for the whole thing to end.

However – on the last morning, one of my dorm-mates, who I spent much of the weekend arguing with, arose at Amrit Vela to wash his hair and begin his Nit-Nem. He must’ve done this every day, but on this particular morning, it woke me up. Although we both criticized each other’s maryada, I was impressed with his discipline and moved by the way he personally connected with the Guru in this way. And then it dawned on me,

“Who am I to judge or criticize, when he is up at Amrit Vela engrossed in Simran and I am lazily lying in bed.”

There is, after all, one thing we do have in common – and that is the love for our Guru. But our Sangat, experiences, and influence are different. Therefore, there are differences in the way we practice. The way we practice is tightly aligned with our belief, and belief is not something we take lightly. Most are unlikely to change. But does this mean we have to settle for Panthic disunity?

Perhaps.

But I ask, have we ever really been united as a Panth? Only a handful of historical events come to mind where Sikhs from various groups had set aside their differences and shared a common goal – Banda Singh Bahadur’s conquer of Sirhind, and the immediate days after the 1984 Darbar Sahib attack come to mind, but for much of our history, there has been such disparity – even during the Guru’s time. It did not seem to prevent the Gurus from accomplishing their mission, so why should it prevent us?


There are some groups of Sikhs I disagree with, but they do the most amazing Keertan that touches my soul. There are some groups of Sikhs I am critical of, but I envy their sense of discipline. There are some groups of Sikhs I don’t see eye to eye with, but their passion for activism and social justice is inspiring.

So it begs the question…is it possible for us as Sikhs to embrace our commonalities and dare I say, “learn” from each other’s influences, yet be mature enough to accept each other’s differences…and agree to disagree?

Rather than spending our energy challenging one another over maryada and being critical of each other’s practices…can we instead focus that energy on living up to our own maryada and bettering our self? I, for one, have long ways to go.

I guess I’m starting to see the glass half-full. At this year’s Nagar Keertan, I passed by several aunties and uncles complaining of how chaotic the event was and how disorganized we were. But what I saw were thousands of my brothers and sisters…in different clothes, speaking different languages, some from different cultures, and even with slightly different practices…all marching the same direction. And I can’t help but wonder…rather than fight over our differences, is it possible we can rise above…and celebrate the beauty in our diversity?



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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vote for Jakara

This was found on http://www.votesikh.com/

Vote for Jakara Movement on facebook so that they can make a million dollars.

1 Million Dollars = Sikh Museum in North America and the Mata Gujri Women’s Center


Chase Bank is holding a competition on Facebook with the winning charity receiving 1 Million Dollars. Anyone with a facebook account (anywhere in the world - UK, Canada, US, Mexico, Punjab, India, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya, etc.) can vote.

The Jakara Movement is publicly committed to use ALL money for the construction of 2 projects - the first North American Sikh Museum AND a Sikh Women's Center.

By voting for the Jakara Movement from January 15th-22nd, you will make this a reality.

Remember you can ONLY vote through facebook between January 15-22, 2010. We need the help and mobilization of our entire community throughout the world to win this together. Anyone with a facebook account can vote!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Scratch the Surface- from Sikhnet

This morning I was peeling a batch of Brussels sprouts, then putting them in a slow cooker for soup. Each sprout was covered with dirt — and probably mildew and insect droppings. But no matter how grungy each sprout was, after I had peeled away enough outer leaves, a beautiful, clean and edible miniature cabbage emerged, which I then plopped in the slow cooker.


Sikh writings tell us over and over that God’s own self pervades all creation. My spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan, used to say, “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.” God in all creation; God in the best; God in the worst; God in the grungy Brussels sprouts.

As the perfectly beautiful and edible Brussels sprouts emerged from the dirt and gunk covering them, I remembered a time I had the privilege of seeing the divine emerge from a particularly grungy man. It happened this way: My husband and I once had to get rid of a bunch of books from his grandmother’s estate. She had lived just outside Tigard, so we took the unwanted books to a large bookstore in downtown Portland. We dropped the books off and headed back to the car, with me hustling to keep up with my husband, an ex-track star who can walk faster than some people can run.

As I was struggling to keep up, I spotted a couple of homeless men on the sidewalk, covered in filthy blankets. I didn’t want to gawk at their misery so I kept my eyes resolutely turned straight. But as I passed, one of the men began to yell. Clearly, he was upset that I wasn’t looking at him. So I turned, gave him my best smile and projected out the thought, “I see God in you, too!”

First the man’s face reflected a horrified comprehension, then he bowed his head and said in a normal human voice, not a screaming crazy one, “May God forgive me! May you never be where I am now!”

Scratch the surface and God was there, the second word out of the man’s mouth.

God is always there. The one person I don’t like may be the one person forcing me to be a better me, the one person pushing me out of the situation I need to leave in order to fulfill my destiny elsewhere. The pain I undergo may be just the ticket for me to travel the path of compassion. The painful circumstance may open the door to divine opportunity. It’s true for me. I think it’s true for everyone who chooses to see it.

OK, it’s true that I was forcibly turning those Brussels sprouts into what I wanted them to be. I don’t advocate that we should do that with people. True decency with our fellow humans is to accept them as they are — dirty blankets, dirty words and all. But beneath the surface, the goodness of God always shines out.


Siri Kirpal Kaur Khalsa is a member of the Sikh community in Eugene, and is an author and founder of the Oneness Coalition, an interfaith organization in Salem. This column is coordinated by Lane Interfaith Alliance to offer inspiration, share personal spiritual experiences and bring a deeper understanding of individual faith perspectives. For information, visit www.laneinterfaithalliance.org or call 344-5693.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Guru Gobind Singh Ji Life Story


Today is Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Birthday and I decided to post some information that I found on sikhiwiki.org. The story is quite long, and his full life story of with all of the details would probably fill up volumes.
(1666 to 1708)

Birth : Friday, January 5, 1666 in Patna, Bihar, India
Guruship : 1675 to 1708
Joti Jot : Thursday, 21 October, 1708 at Nanded
Parents : Guru Tegh Bahadur & Mata Gujri
Brother/Sisters : -N.A-
Spouse : Mata Jeeto, Mata Sundri & Mata Sahib Devan
Children : Zorawar Singh, Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Fateh Singh

Guru Gobind Singh ji (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰੂ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ) (Friday, January 5, 16661, in Patna, Bihar, India - Thursday, 21 October, 1708) was the tenth and last of the Ten human form Gurus of Sikhism. He became Guru on November 24, 1675 at the age of nine, following in the footsteps of his father Guru Teg Bahadur ji.

Before Guru ji left his mortal body for his heavenly abode, he nominated Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji (SGGS) as the next perpetual Guru of the Sikhs. Guru Gobind Singh moulded the Sikh religion into its present, with the formation of the Khalsa fraternity and completion of the Guru Granth Sahib as we find it today, which some will say was his greatest act.

"If we consider the work which (Guru) Gobind (Singh) accomplished, both in reforming his religion and instituting a new code of law for his followers, his personal bravery under all circumstances; his persevering endurance amidst difficulties, which would have disheartened others and overwhelmed them in inextricable distress, and lastly his final victory over his powerful enemies by the very men who had previously forsaken him, we need not be surprised that the Sikhs venerate his memory. He was undoubtedly a great man." (W, L. McGregor)

The tenth Guru (teacher) of the Sikh faith, was born Gobind Rai. It may not be out of context to say here that throughout the chronicles of human history, there was no other individual who could be of more inspiring personality than Guru Gobind Singh.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji infused the spirit of both sainthood and soldier in the minds and hearts of his followers to fight oppression in order to restore justice, peace, righteousness (Dharma) and to uplift the down-trodden people in this world.

It is said that after the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the tenth Master declared that he would create such a Panth (Sect) which would challenge the tyrant rulers in every walk of life to restore justice, equality and peace for all of mankind. As a prophet, the Guru is unique.

His teachings are very scientific and most suitable for all times. Unlike many other prophets he never called himself God or 'the only son of God.' Instead he called all people the sons of God sharing His Kingdom equally. For himself he used the word 'slave' or servant of God.

"Those who call me God, will fall into the deep pit of hell. Regard me as one of his slaves and have no doubt whatever about it. I am a servant of the Supreme Being; and have come to behold the wonderful drama of life."

Extracts from Guru Gobind Singh's writings;

"God has no marks, no colour, no caste, and no ancestors, No form, no complexion, no outline, no costume and is indescribable.

He is fearless, luminous and measureless in might. He is the king of kings, the Lord of the prophets.

He is the sovereign of the universe, gods, men and demons. The woods and dales sing the indescribable.

O Lord, none can tell Thy names. The wise count your blessings to coin your names." (Jaap Sahib)

Early Life
Gobind Rai was born with a holy mission of which he tells us in his autobiography “Bachitar Natak” (Wonderous Drama). In it Guru Ji tells us how and for what purpose he was sent into this world by God. He states that before he came into this world , as a free spirit he was engaged in meditation in the seven peaked Hemkunt mountain. Having merged with God and having become One with the Unmanifest and the Infinite, God commanded him:

“I have cherished thee as my Son, and created thee to establish a religion and restrain the world from senseless acts. I stood up, folded my hands, bowed my head and replied,‘Thy religion will prevail in all the world, when it has Thy support’.”

Guru Ji describes the purpose of his coming to this world and why he emerged from the Supreme Reality in human form to carry out his Creator’s command :

“For this purpose was I born, let all virtuous people understand. I was born to advance righteousness, to emancipate the good, and to destroy all evil-doers root and branch.”

Early Life

Gobind Rai's father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the Ninth Guru, was then travelling across Bengal and Assam. Returning to Patna in 1670, he directed his family to return to the Punjab. On the site of the house at Patna in which Gobind Rai was born and where he spent his early childhood now stands a sacred shrine, Sri Patna Sahib Gurdwara, Bihar.

Gobind Rai was escorted to Anandpur (then known as Chakk Nanaki) on the foothills of the Sivaliks where he reached in March 1672 and where his early education included reading and writing of Punjabi, Braj, Sanskrit and Persian. He was barely nine years of age when a sudden turn came in his life as well as in the life of the community he was destined to lead.

Kashmiri Brahmins come to Anandpur

Early in 1675, a group of Kashmiri brahmins under the leadership of Pandit Kirpa Ram, mad in desperation by the religious fanaticism of the Mughals General, Iftikar Khan, (he had threatened them with forced conversion to Islam) visited Anandpur to seek Guru Tegh Bahadur's advice. Aurangzeb had ordered the forced conversion of all Hindus and thought that if the respected Kashmiri brahmans accepted Islam, others in the country would be easily converted. They had been given six months to decide or suffer the consequences. Time was running out!

As the Guru sat reflecting what to do, young Gobind Rai, arriving there in company with his playmates, asked why he looked so preoccupied. The father, as records Kuir Singh in his Gurbilas Patshahi 10, replied, "Grave are the burdens the earth bears. She will be redeemed only if a truly worthy person comes forward to lay down his head. Distress will then be expunged and happiness ushered in."

"None could be worthier than you to make such a sacrifice," remarked Gobind Rai in his innocent manner.

Guru Tegh Bahadur advised the brahmins to return to their village and tell the authorities that they would accept Islam if Guru Tegh Bahadur could first be persuaded to do so.

Father Guru's martyrdom

Soon afterwards the Guru with a few followers proceeded to the imperial capital, Delhi. After watching the tortured deaths of three of his followers he, as well, refused to convert and was beheaded on November 11, 1675. The 13 year old Gobind Rai, ordained as the next Guru before his father departed Anandpur, was formally installed as Guru Gobind Singh on the Baisakhi day of March 1676. In the midst of his engagement with the concerns of the community, he gave attention to the mastery of physical skills and literary accomplishment.

For the first 20 years or so of his life, Guru Gobind Singh lived peacefully at Anandpur practicing arms and exercises to complete his training as a soldier. He also studied Persian and Sanskrit and engaged 52 poets to translate the Hindu epics. Stories of ancient heroes were translated into Punjabi in order to create the martial spirit among the Sikhs. The Guru also wrote several compositions including Jaap Sahib, Akal Ustat and Sawayas during this period. He also established a Gurdwara at Paonta Sahib on the banks of the river Jamna.

Through his poetry he preached love and equality and a strictly ethical and moral code of conduct. He preached the worship of the One Supreme Being, deprecating idolatry and superstitious beliefs and observances. The glorification of the sword itself which he eulogized as Bhagauti was to secure fulfilment of God's justice. The sword was never meant as a symbol of aggression. It was the emblem of manliness and self-respect and was to be used only in self-defence, as a last resort. For Guru Gobind Singh said in a Persian couplet in his Zafarnamah:

"When all other means have failed, It is but lawful to take to the sword."

Creation of the Khalsa

The Amrit Sanskar CeremonyAn open air diwan was held in Kesgarh Sahib at Anandpur. The Guru drew his sword and in a thundering voice said, "I want one head, is there any one who can offer me?"

This most unusual call caused some terror in the gathering and the people were stunned. There was dead silence. The Guru made a second call. Nobody came forward. There was still more silence. On the third call there raised Daya Ram, a khatri of Lahore who said, "O true king, my head is at your service."

The Guru took Daya Ram by the arm and led him inside a tent. A blow and thud were heard. Then the Guru, with his sword dripping with blood, came out and said, "I want another head, is there anyone who can offer?" Again on third call Dharam Das, a Jat from Delhi came forward and said, "O true king! My head is at thy disposal."

The Guru took Dharam Das inside the tent, again a blow and thud were heard, and he came out with his sword dripping with blood and repeated, "I want another head, is there any beloved Sikh who can offer it?"

Upon this some people in the assembly remarked that the Guru had lost all reason and went to his mother to complain.

Mohkam Chand, a calico priner/tailor of Dwarka (west coast of India) offered himself as a sacrifice. The Guru took him inside the tent and went through the same process. When he came out, he made a call for the fourth head. The Sikhs began to think that he was going to kill all of them.

Some of them ran away and the others hung their heads down in disbelief. Himmat Chand, a cook of Jagan Nath Puri, offered himself as a fourth sacrifice. Then the Guru made a fifth and the last call for a fifth head. Sahib Chand, a barber of Bidar (in central India), came forward and the Guru took him inside the tent. A blow and thud were heard.

The last time he stayed longer in the tent. People began to breathe with relief. They thought may be the Guru has realised "his mistake" and has now stopped.

The panj pyare

The Guru now clad his five volunteers in splendid garments. They had offered their heads to the Guru, and the Guru had now given them himself and his glory. When they were brought outside, they were in the most radiant form. There were exclamations of wonder and the sighs of regret on all sides. Now people were sorry for not offering their heads.
Since the time of Guru Nanak, Charan Pauhal had been the customary form of initiation. People were to drink the holy water which had been touched or washed by the Guru's toe or feet. The Guru proceeded to initiate them to his new order (Khande di Pauhal) by asking the five faithful Sikhs to stand up.

He put pure water into an iron vessel or Bowl (Batta of Sarbloh) and stirred it with a Khanda (two edged small sword). While stirring the water with Khanda, he recited Gurbani (Five Banis- Japji, Jaap Sahib, Anand Sahib, Swayas, and Chaupai). Sugar crystals called 'Patasas' which incidently the Guru's wife, Mata Sahib Kaur, had brought at that moment, were mixed in the water.

Amrit Sanchar

The Guru then stood up with the sacred Amrit (nectar) prepared in the iron bowl. Each of the five faithful, by turn, each kneeling upon his left knee, looked up to the Master to receive the divine amrit. He gave five palmfuls of Amrit to each of them to drink and sprinkled it five times in the eyes, asking them to repeat aloud with each sprinkle, "Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh." (This means: Khalsa belongs to God and all triumph be to His Name) Then he anointed with five sprinkles in the hair.

In this way Amrit was administered to the five faithful from the same bowl. After that he asked them to sip Amrit from the same bowl to signify their initiation into the casteless fraternity of the Khalsa. All the five faithful were baptized in this way by the Guru who then called them the 'PANJ PYARE' or Five Beloved Ones.

He gave them the appellation of SINGHS (Lions) and they were named from Daya Ram to Daya Singh, Dharam Das to Dharam Singh, Mohkam Chand to Mohkam Singh, Himmat Chand to Himmat Singh, and Sahib Chand to Sahib Singh. The Guru then addressed them as the supreme, the liberated ones, pure ones and he called them THE KHALSA.

Guru asks for Amrit

After the Guru had administered Amrit to his Five Beloved Ones, he stood up in supplication and with folded hands, begged them to baptize him in the same way as he had baptized them. He himself became their disciple (Wonderful is Guru Gobind Singh, himself the Master and himself the disciple).

The Five Beloved Ones were astonished at such a proposal, and represented their own unworthiness, and the greatness of the Guru, whom they deemed God's Vicar upon earth. They asked him why he made such a request and why he stood in a supplicant posture before them. He replied," I am the son of the Immortal God. It is by His order I have been born and have established this form of baptism. They who accept it shall henceforth be known as the KHALSA.

The Khalsa is the Guru and the Guru is the Khalsa. There is no difference between you and me. As Guru Nanak seated Guru Angad on the throne, so have I made you also a Guru. Wherefore administer the baptismal nectar to me without any hesitation." Accordingly the Five Beloved Ones baptized the Guru with the same ceremonies and injunctions he himself had employed.

The rise of the Khalsa

The Guru was then named Gobind Singh instead of Gobind Rai. Guru Gobind Singh was the first one to take Amrit from the Khalsa, the Five Beloved Ones. About 80,000 men and women were baptized within a few days at Anandpur. "The creation of the Khalsa was the greatest work of the Guru. He created a type of superman, a universal man of God, casteless and country less. The Guru regarded himself as the servant of the Khalsa. He said, "To serve them pleases me the most; no other service is so dear to my soul." The Khalsa was the spearhead of resistance against tyranny." (Miss Pearl, S. Buck)

Siege of Anandpur

They hence rallied under the leadership of the Raja of Bilaspur, in whose territory lay Anandpur, to forcibly evict Guru Gobind Singh from his hilly citadel. Their repeated expeditions during 1700-04 however proved abortive. The Khalsa forces were too strong to be dealt with by the hill Rajas. They at last petitioned Emperor Aurangzeb for help. In concert with contingents sent under imperial orders by the governor of Lahore and those of the faujdar of Sirhind, they marched upon Anandpur and laid a siege to the fort in May 1705.

Over the months, the Guru and his Sikhs firmly withstood their successive assaults despite insufficient amounts of food resulting from the prolonged blockade. While the besieged (Sikhs) were reduced to desperate straits, the besiegers (governor of Lahore) too were exhausted at the courage of the Sikhs. At this stage the besiegers offered, on Oath (promise) of the Qur'an, safe exit to the Sikhs if they quit Anandpur. At last, the town was evacuated during a night of December 1705. But as the Guru and his Sikhs came out, the hill monarchs and their Mughal allies set upon them in full fury.

Sikhs "tricked" by the Mughals

In the ensuing confusion many Sikhs were killed and all of the Guru's baggage, including most of the precious manuscripts, was lost. The Guru himself was able to make his way to Chamkaur, 40 km southwest of Anandpur, with barely 40 Sikhs and his two elder sons. There the imperial army, following closely on his heels, caught up with him. His two sons, Ajit Singh (born. 1687) and Jujhar Singh (born. 1691) and all but five of the Sikhs fell in the action that took place on 7 December 1705. The five surviving Sikhs commanded the Guru to save himself in order to reconsolidate the Khalsa.

Guru Gobind Singh with three of his Sikhs escaped into the wilderness of the Malva, two of his Muslim devotees, Gani Khan and Nabi Khan, helping him at great personal risk. Guru Gobind Singh's two younger sons, Zorawar Singh (born. 1696), Fateh Singh (born.1699), and his mother, Mata Gujari Ji, also evacuated Anandpur but were betrayed by their old servant and escort, Gangu, to the faujdar of Sirhind, who had the young children executed on 13 December 1705. Their grandmother died the same day.

Guru Gobind Singh reached Dina in the heart of the Malva. There he enlisted a few hundred warriors of the Brar clan, and also composed his famous letter, Zafarnamah (the Epistle of Victory), in Persian verse, addressed to Emperor Aurangzeb. The letter was a severe indictment of the Emperor and his commanders who had broken their oath. They attacked Guru Gobind Singh once he was outside the safety of his fortification at Anandpur. Two of the Sikhs, Daya Singh and Dharam Singh, were despatched with the Zafarnamah to Ahmadnagar in the South to deliver it to Aurangzeb, then in camp in that town. From Dina, Guru Gobind Singh continued his westward march until, finding the host close upon his heels; he took position beside the water pool of Khidrana to make a last-ditch stand.

Brave Sikh women join fight

The fighting on 29 December 1705 was hard and desperate. In spite of their overwhelming numbers, the Mughal troops failed to capture the Guru and had to retire in defeat. The major part in this battle was played by a group of 40 Sikhs who had deserted the Guru at Anandpur during the long siege, but who, scolded by their wives at home, had come back under the leadership of a brave and devoted woman, Mai Bhago, to redeem themselves. They had fallen fighting desperately to check the enemy's advance towards the Guru's position. The Guru blessed the 40 dead as 40 mukte, i.e. the 40 Saved Ones. The site is now marked by a sacred shrine and tank and the town which has grown around them is called Muktsar, the Pool of Liberations.

After spending some time in the Lakkhi Jungle country, Guru Gobind Singh arrived at Talvandi Sabo, now called Damdama Sahib, on 20 January 1706. During his stay there of over nine months, a number of Sikhs rejoined him. He prepared a fresh text of Sikh Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, with the celebrated scholar, Bhai Mani Singh, who wrote the Guru's bani. From the number of scholars who had rallied round Guru Gobind Singh and from the literary activity initiated, the place came to be known as the Guru's Kashi or seat of learning like Varanasi (A city of northeast-central India).

Zafarnamah bears result

The Zafarnamah sent by Guru Gobind Singh from Dina seems to have touched the heart of Emperor Aurungzeb. He forthwith invited him for a meeting. According to history, the Emperor had a letter written to the deputy governor of Lahore, Munim Khan, to conciliate the Guru and make the required arrangements for his journey to the Deccan.
Guru Gobind Singh had, however, already left for the South on 30 October 1706. He was in the neighbourhood of Baghor, in Rajasthan, when the news arrived of the death of the Emperor at Ahmadnagar on 20 February 1707. The Guru there upon decided to return to the Punjab, via Shahjahanabad (Delhi). That was the time when the sons of the deceased Emperor were preparing to contest succession.

Guru helps Bahadur Shah

Guru Gobind Singh despatched for the help of the eldest claimant, the liberal Prince Muazzam, a token contingent of Sikhs which took part in the battle of Jajau (8 June 1707), decisively won by the Prince who ascended the throne with the title of Bahadur Shah. The new Emperor invited Guru Gobind Singh for a meeting which took place at Agra on 23 July 1707.

While Bahadur Shah proceeded further South, Guru Gobind Singh decided to stay awhile at Nanded. Here he met a Bairagi (a person who withdraws from the world), Madho Das, whom he blessed into a Sikh with the vows of the Khalsa, renaming him Gurbakhsh Singh (popular name Banda Singh). Guru Gobind Singh gave Banda Singh five arrows from his own quiver and an escort, including five of his chosen Sikhs, and directed him to go to the Punjab and carry on the campaign against the tyranny of the provincial overlords.

Plan to assassinate the Guru

Nawab Wazir Khan of Sirhind had felt concerned at the Emperor's conciliatory treatment of Guru Gobind Singh. Their marching together to the South made him jealous, and he ordered two of his trusted men with murdering the Guru before his increasing friendship with the Emperor resulted in any harm to him.

These two pathans Jamshed Khan and Wasil Beg are the names given in the Guru Kian Sakhian pursued the Guru secretly and overtook him at Nanded, where, according to Sri Gur Sobha by Senapati, a contemporary writer, one of them stabbed the Guru in the left side below the heart as he lay one evening in his chamber resting after the Rahras prayer. Before he could deal another blow, Guru Gobind Singh struck him down with his sabre, while his fleeing companion fell under the swords of Sikhs who had rushed in on hearing the noise. As the news reached Bahadar Shah's camp, he sent expert surgeons, to attend to the Guru.

Guru recovers but mission is at an end

The Guru's wound was immediately stitched by the Emperor's European surgeon and within a few days it appeared to have been healed. The injury had been contained and the Guru had made a good recovery. However, several days later, when the Guru tugged at a hard strong bow, the imperfectly healed wound burst open and caused profuse bleeding. It was again treated but it was now clear to the Guru that the call of the Father from Heaven had come. He prepared the sangat for his departure; instruction were given to the immediate main Sewadars and finally he gave his last and enduring message of his mission to the assembly of the Khalsa.

He then opened the Granth Sahib, placed five paise and solemnly bowed to it as his successor, GURU GRANTH SAHIB. Saying 'Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh', he walked around the Guru Granth Sahib and proclaimed, "O beloved Khalsa, let him who desireth to behold me, behold the Guru Granth. Obey the Granth Sahib. It is the visible body of the Gurus. And let him who desires to meet me, search me in the hymns."

He then sang his self-composed hymn: "Agya bhai Akal ki tabhi chalayo Panth Sabh Sikhan ko hukam hai Guru manyo Granth Guru Granth Ji manyo pargat Guran ki deh Jo Prabhu ko milbo chahe khoj shabad mein le Raj karega Khalsa aqi rahei na koe Khwar hoe sabh milange bache sharan jo hoe."

Translation of the above:

"Under orders of the Immortal Being, the Panth was created. All the Sikhs are enjoined to accept the Granth as their Guru. Consider the Guru Granth as embodiment of the Gurus. Those who want to meet God, can find Him in its hymns. The Khalsa shall rule, and its opponents will be no more, Those separated will unite and all the devotees shall be saved."

Guru Granth Sahib becomes Guru

He, in grateful acknowledgement of the spiritual benefactions of the founder of his religion, uttered a Persian distich, the translation of which is:

"Gobind Singh obtained from Guru Nanak Hospitality, the sword, victory, and prompt assistance."

(These lines were impressed on a seal made by the Sikhs after the Guru left for his heavenly abode, and were adopted by Ranjit Singh for his coinage after he had assumed the title of Maharaja in the Punjab)

The Guru then left for his heavenly abode. The Sikhs made preparations for his final rites as he had instructed them, the Sohila was chanted and Parsahd (sacred food) was distributed. While all were mourning the loss, a Sikh arrived and said," You suppose that the Guru is dead. I met him this very morning riding his bay horse. After bowing to him, I asked where he was going. He smiled and replied that he was going to the forest." The Sikhs who heard this statement arrived at the conclusion that it was all the Guru's play, that he dwelt in uninterrupted bliss, that he showed himself wherever he was remembered. He who treasures even a grain of the Lord's love in his heart, is the blessed one and the Guru reveals himself to such a devotee in mysterious ways.

Wherefore for such a Guru who had departed bodily to Heaven, there ought to be no mourning. The Word as contained in the Guru Granth Sahib was henceforth, and for all time to come to be the Guru for the Sikhs

Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Birthday


Sacrificed entire family


In any other religion you don't hear how the Prophet or leader sleeps. However, in Sikhi we remember in our history how our Tenth Father slept in the Machheewala Jungle. Despite losing his father, mother, four sons, home, wealth and followers, the Guru slept as if nothing had happened. A Dervish mocked the Guru and said “guroo rehgiaa kalaa kalaa” (the Guru remains alone, alone). The Guru replied: “nehee, guroo de naal allaah allaah” (No, with the Guru there is Allah, Allah). Guru Sahib exemplified the attitude and psyche of always remaining positivistic and in Chardi Kalaa (high spirits).


Inauguration of Khalsa (sovereign) – Vaisakhi 1699

Through creating the Khalsa the Guru rested leadership with the community. Guru Sahib carried on the tradition of Amrit from Guru Nanak Sahib jee, which was whereby the follower is spiritually reborn and commits himself or herself to a new life with a distinct lifestyle, morals and principles. Through Amrit, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib jee eradicated stereotypes of who comes into the idealistic community.


40 Mukte

40 Sikhs deserted Guru Gobind Singh Sahib jee and wrote a letter of disownment saying, “We are not your Sikhs, and you are not our Guru.” However, realising they were wrong through speaking to their wives, the 40 Sikhs returned and fought defending the Guru in battle. As a last wish, the leader of the 40 Sikhs asked the Guru to tear up the letter of disownment. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib jee forgave them. This shows that the relationship with the Guru is most important and that Guru will always give us another chance and forgive our past.


Mai Bhago jee

She led the 40 deserted Sikhs back to Guru Gobind Singh Sahib jee and to fight alongside them in the battle. Mai Bhago (properly known as Mata Bhaag Kaur jee) was the personal bodyguard of Guru jee for 7 months and is a role model of leadership and decision-making.


Baba Banda Singh Bahadar jee

Meeting Guru Guru Gobind Singh Sahib jee, Madho Daas, a misguided spiritual mystic, was transformed to Gurbaksh Singh, a Saint-Warrior. He was a role of leadership and decision-making to establish Khalsa Raaj. He ruled in accordance to the Guru’s teachings of leadership resting in the ‘Khalsa Panchayat’, which is a board of 5 spiritually wise and practicing Sikhs, with the chief executive officer (the Jathedaar) being the executor of decisions.


Summary

Bhai Nand Lal Singh Ji writes in his poetry that if one word could describe and summarise Guru Gobind Singh Sahib jee's life, that word be "COURAGE." Guru Sahib not only showed courage in his psyche, personality and life however instilled courage into his followers to always remain victorious as victory always belongs to Vaheguru.

btw, kesri or the orange colour that we wear during Vaisakhi was Guru Gobind Singh Ji's favourite colour.