Fall in Love

Something i've talked to with a couple of Gursikhs now is falling in love.

Many of us have at some point, it seems to be part of the package of being human - especially during our teenage years.

If I remember correctly, the only thoughts that came to my mind were of the person I became obsessed with - everytime I brushed my teeth, or got dressed in the morning I'd think of the person.

What if.....

We fell in love with Guru Ji/Vaheguru/God in this same manner, our sole aim was to love them so much that they were that were on our mind every second of the day.

Every little seemingly useless action was linked to getting closer to them, holding them in our arms and just being content with whatever they did.

When I read Gurbani sometimes I really wish I could feel the emotions that the authors felt when they wrote the blessed words, there are so many examples of this:

"Kabeer, if you desire to play the game of love with the Lord, then cut off your head, and make it into a ball.
Lose yourself in the play of it, and then whatever will be, will be. 239"

vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru
"ik gharhee na miltay taa kalijug hotaa.
When I could not be with You for just one moment, the Dark Age of Kali Yuga dawned for me.

hun kad milee-ai pari-a tuDh bhagvantaa.
When will I meet You, O my Beloved Lord?

mohi rain na vihaavai need na aavai bin daykhay gur darbaaray jee-o. 3
I cannot endure the night, and sleep does not come, without the Sight of the Beloved Guru's Court. 3"

Shabd Hazarey, Dhan Siri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji

vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru vaheguru

myrY min AYsI Bgiq bin AweI ]
maerai man aisee bhagath ban aaee
Such is the devotional love which has been produced in my mind.

hau hir ibnu iKnu plu rih n skau jYsy jl ibnu mInu mir jweI ]1] rhwau ]
ho har bin khin pal rehi n sako jaisae jal bin meen mar jaaee 1 rehaao
Without the Lord, I cannot live even for an instant, like the fish which dies without water. 1Pause

Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Limb 368

I agree that wordly love is nothing compared to devotional love, but for people like me its a glimpse of what Gurmukhs (people following the teachings of the Guru's) experience.

Bana - Brother Prabhu Singhs Story

Last year when I realized that I was going to India I began thinking about what I could get there that I can't get here. I thought that I might like to switch my turban style and I could do so in India, since I can buy turban material there and not here.

It took me a while to make a style that I liked, I tried different methods of tying my turban and different lengths, but eventually I found the style. I use 9 meters cut in half. So I get two turbans from 9 meters of rubia. I didn't really like the Patiala-shahi turban any more, sometimes the point would start to hurt. I also didn't want to wear a damalla (daily anyway) because it is for battle.Also I realized that I had a chance to get a lot of bana made for a fair price. I had been contemplating wearing bana everyday for a long time. I thought, when I had enough bana that I could wear it everyday, I would. Now was my chance. I made such a huge order, I arranged it ahead of time before getting to India.


When I got back from India, things were different. I went back to work wearing a different turban and dressing completely different. My normal dress for work before going to India was slacks and a button-up shirt. I had (still have, but don't wear) a lot of designer clothes. I usually looked pretty sharp, very 'professional' (I never rolled my beard though), and generally well groomed. Now I look sharper, I'm still well-groomed, and I don't look professional but more princely.

A lot of people have been staring at me at work. I work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is very prestigious amongst scientists. The small town of Los Alamos has the highest number of PHD's per capita in the world. People from all over the US and the world are working here. I can tell immediately who is new and who's been here for a while. The people who are local (Los Alamos, EspaƱola, Santa Fe) have seen Sikhs in full bana for years. The rest stare like they've never seen anything like me (probably haven't).

The Labs is the largest employer in Northern New Mexico and so it has a huge work force. Each division is like a speparate company. My brother and my Dad work at the labs but I never see them at work or know anything of the work they do.

On a daily basis I only see a (relatively) small number of people who are my co-workers. They are now quite used to seeing me in a kurta/churidar or chola, with a hazoori and 9-meter turban. Only the people who know me personally have commented and they all say the same thing; I look like a king or a prince. One guy said he wanted to be a Sikh, just so he could dress like me.

Wearing bana everyday, makes you very aware of your responsibility to the Guru. You cannot behave in a manner that would bring negative attention to Sikhs. You have to be confident in your beliefs or you will feel crushed by the weight of the stares and the assumed judgements that come with many of the looks.

You have to give up all your cares about what other people think and decide that you want to be who you are.

For a lot of people wearing bana everyday is not who they are. For me, I've never been happier to wear clothes. The first few days were interesting and I had moments where I didn't feel very confident. In those moments I would catch myself and realize all the great reasons I should be perfectly confident.

Being yourself is very liberating.

Nobody can please everybody, and it is useless to try. We all have to wear clothes, why not wear what suites us? We have a uniform that immediately identifies who we are and what we stand for. On my way to work the other day I saw my reflection in a window and I saw a GurSikh in full uniform looking back.

In writing this post I thought I might express some of what I've experienced with this change of appearance in my life. Also I thought I might issue a challenge to others who are considering making a change.

If you are considering wearing a turban (man or woman) or bana everyday, and the only thing holding you back is your mind, I would like to challenge you to join me in this change. I know many people have dress codes at work, but many people are worried what their family or community might say when they change.

If this is the only set back, it is unfortunate.

I had detractors and a lot of people who didn't understand as well, but I still went for it. My challenge is not any different than anybody else's. It's not easier for me than for somebody else. We each have to face challenges representing this sacred path. Without the challenges one might not face themselves and develop conviction in their beliefs.This path is not cheap, it is not a part-time religion. The value of this great dharma has to be earned, daily.

This was my last day at the Hari Mandir Sahib in December.

Extract From: http://prabhukhalsa.blogspot.com/

See Also: Wearing Dastaar/Bana

Khalsa Alliance - Lets Face Problems Together

Over the past several years many important issues about disrespect towards Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji have been brought to the attention of the Sikh community in the United Kingdom, when we would assume that there should be greater awareness of the philosophy and traditions that must be adhered to by all Sikhs in order to maintain reverence for our Guru.

In theory, respect for Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji should start from the Gurdwara. It is generally expected that our committees must take responsibility and lead by example and Guru Jis sangat expect no excuse for not maintaining respect for Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. It is believed that a Gurdwara is the home of our Guru, yet we regularly neglect our King and focus on everything but Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

Gurdwaras are a bastion of Sikh spirit, of Sikh ideals, Sikh practices, and Sikh existence. They are a positive and benevolent fortress of Sikhi. Gurdwaras were set up by the Gurus to be the
powerhouse of Sikh life and living - to inspire, to activate, to unite and take forward human society. The opponents of the Sikhs throughout history were always deeply distrustful and hostile to the activity and moral strength Sikhs obtained at Gurdwaras in Guru Ji's abode. Indeed, the Indian states wholesale attack on the Sikh nation in 1984 began with a destruction of the primary Sikh Gurdwaras (Darbaar Sahib, Akal Takhat, and over 70 other significant
historical Gurdwaras across Punjab).

Today we find that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is being left on shelves in Gurdwaras, shops and homes alike. Sach Khands in Gurdwaras are not being given care and attention. People in their homes across the country are struggling to do Guru Ji's seva. Biirde Saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji are not being looked after in accordance with the respect and Maryada that should be assumed to Guru Maharaj.

It is common knowledge that Saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji are being shipped in containers to be subsequently sold privately on the open market (e.g. recently Maharaj was being auctioned on EBAY to the highest bidder, and there are several Saroops of Guru Maharaj in the British Library yet we sit back and allow this disrespect).

The misuse of Guru Ji's name by Gurdwara Committees and other organizations, including non-religious organisations (e.g. holding so called sports tournaments and organizing tournaments that are in blatant disrespect of Guru Ji's principles for example alcohol is
freely available at many of these tournaments) is common place.

The Khanda is being misused by Meat shops and Off Licenses by displaying the Sikh nishaan on their shop fronts. Calendars and Punjabi newspapers carry adverts for alcohol and meat along with pictures of our Gurus, are being published and freely distributed even though this is a form of open contempt for Sikhi. Yet if a Granthi mis-spells or mis-pronounces our name in Ardas or if
somebody associates an individual with something they would not want to be associated with, for example a news article or advert we would make every effort to disassociate any perceived connection in a sapashtikaran or take legal action for libel.

But where is our joint responsibility to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji? Are we all experiencing a death of conscience when it comes to our own personal duty towards Guru Ji?

We collectively need to generate an understanding of and enabling of joint responsibility to begin to reduce and eventually stop these beadbis. Why can Sikhs not use Guru Nanak Dev Ji's message of peaceful parchaar as opposed to extreme and forceful measures? Why are we within the Sikh community unable to have dialogue and open discussion about important issues without either making political points against opponents or perceiving criticism as a personal attack on our character? Maybe this is one of the reasons why our family models are also no-longer the strong infrastructure that outsiders have often complemented us on.

Our high level of distrust and objection to criticism, even if the criticism is valid, possibly stems from our collective inability to communicate and analyze a problem or issue leading to enormous
inefficiency and unaccountability within the Sikh community at large.

It is the responsibility of each and every person in public office, be they the Pardhaan, Stage Secretary, Langar sevadar, Giani, Kirtani, Sant, Katha Vaachik, or Dhaadhi to teach and explain
respect of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to the sangat.

A number of Incidents over the last 12 months have brought a lot of issues to light. The Respect for Guru Granth Sahib Ji Campaign has highlighted one particular beadbi; we again have started taking Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to hotels, clubs, and bars for weddings and Akhand Paaths. If our Local Gurdwara accommodates 250 people and our desired guest list amounts to over 500, we some how think taking Guru Ji to a Five Star Hotel is justified - When will we realize
that these practices are about requesting Guru Ji's blessing as opposed to enlarging our own ego's and stature. This practice is against a Hukamnama from the Akal Takht. There were many occurrences around this campaign, and the issue even reached the British Press, showing the inability of Sikhs to follow Guru Ji's hukum wholeheartedly on the grounds of their own selfish manmat.

Rather than those things occurring why not correct our ways. Rather than let those individuals be successful in abusing the principles of our Guru and rather than let a small minority of individuals revert to extreme measures to deal with these beadbis. An example of a totally peaceful approach to these situations was when last August alone; the Respect for Guru Granth Sahib Ji campaign re-arranged 16 weddings to take place in Gurdwaras as opposed to Hotels, Pubs and Clubs, in co-ordination and through communication with Gurdwaras, Families of the Bride & Groom and general sangat.

Unfortunately there is now a school of thought that seems to think that they are wiser than Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji when it comes to the use of the Sangats money (Golak) and the estate of the Gurdwara. Money is being used for practices that are against the teachings of Guru Ji; so-called 'banqueting halls' are springing up in Gurdwaras in which alcohol and meat are openly provided. Yet we have the audacity to demand that no person is allowed to enter the Gurdwara under the influence of alcohol; hundreds of pounds are spent on signs to prevent non-Sikhs entering Gurdwaras under the influence of alcohol, and homeless people who may be desperately hungry for food are turned away from Gurdwaras because they smell of alcohol. Yet some of those very same Gurdwaras are charging money for hiring of social function halls where they are allowing the serving and consumption of intoxicants and meat within Gurdwara boundaries. Is this what Guru Ji intended for us to do? Are we really doing this to help the Sikh community find affordable venues because they say it wasn't just amritdharies who paid for the Gurdwaras? If barbers become rare and it becomes hard to obtain off-licenses are we also
going to have barbers and theke set up within Gurdwara community halls?

An incident occurred in Leamington last year where an elderly members club were holding a diwaali party on the grounds of the Gurdwaras estate which was also attended by some members of the Gurdwara committee and a local MP. Alcohol and meat were served on
the menu; unfortunately the methods used to highlight this blatant beadbi were ill-advised. It is not much consolation to hear subsequently the Gurdwara Committee immediately after this incident passed a motion that any such activities that are blatantly against our Gurus teachings will not take place on the grounds of the Gurdwara estate. Ironically, within touching distance the same activities occur regularly at the Tachbrook Centre virtually every weekend. The Tachbrook Centre is a banqueting hall based on the Gurdwara's estate. This is a practice not unique to Leamington but found adjacent to several Gurdwaras and bought by the Gurdwaras
through Guru Ji's golak. Surely any building which has been obtained on the back of the Sangat (be it directly or indirectly) is to be deemed as part of Guru Ji's estate? If so, then the sign which says outside the door to the Gurdwara that intoxicants are not allowed must also have jurisdiction on all parts of the Gurdwara's premises.

Sikhi is not about money - never was and never will be! This was made clear when Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji chose to stay with Bhai Lalo instead of Malik Bhago. You don't have to pay to go to the Gurdwara; you don't have to pay to partake of langar. You don't have to pay to embrace Sikhi. You don't have to pay for Vaheguru's guidance. You don't have to pay to become a member of the Khalsa panth, through the baptism of death and life (khande-di-pahul). Why do you have to pay to conduct an Anand Karaj or any other activity? It seems some Gurdwara committees are charging extortionate fees for weddings, for Guru Ji's blessings and for Gurbani to be recited charging upto £2,000. Sangat is also occasionally being charged for the tea at a
wedding on a per head basis, as opposed to on a Seva basis. For six days a week Langar halls are there to emulate Guru Ji's free kitchen, but on the seventh day the same Gurdwara facility takes on the role of a restaurant. Will this mean that only the rich will be able to go to certain Gurdwaras? Are we heading towards a star rating system for Gurdwaras like hotels and restaurants where if you can afford the price you can get wed at the five-star Gurdwara,
otherwise you have to go to a single star Gurdwara? Masands and Mahants in bygone history brought in crude practices that put a wedge between the sangat and Guru Ji. Is history repeating itself?

Has our local Gurdwara become a business centre? Is it a money making scheme? Are Gurdwaras there to teach Sikhi or make money? Are Gurdwaras there to educate our children or pollute their minds with anti-sikhi principles? Is this really Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's vision
of why Gurdwaras were originally built? Would Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji have spent millions of pounds on marble and gold and putting up buildings that the rich can be proud of in which to wed their off-spring or for coach parties to visit from other parts of the country? Would Guru Ji have spent the money on feeding the poor and educating the world about Sacha Soda? There is progress and then there is true progress.

All these beadbis only go on because we do not see our Guru in the light we should. We don't see Guru Ji sitting on their throne in the Gurdwara. We don't see them as our saviour now and after death, we do not value them, we don't see them as Jaagdi Jot. We even find it impossible to have a ten minute conversation regarding Guru Ji without referring to them as a book or 'it'!!!

When Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji ordered the Khalsa Panth to look to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj as our last and eternal Guru, they gave us a clear indication of their vision for the Panth. We have stopped listening to Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji and now have spin offs that use Guru Ji as a mere reference book, as opposed to our Eternal Guru.

Sikhi is not just a private personalized religion; or something that one does to only find private solace or 'shanti'. For that, there are plenty of private sects advertising across the world preying on many nervous and fragile minds, manipulating them to join these passive Guru-worship groups, to address their individual fears, phobias and desires. The Khalsa is a global vision; the Khalsa warrior is a global mind, a global citizen.

The Gurdwara's role must first and foremost be the upholding of Sikh ethics. In reality there is open disregard for everything to do with the ideals and spirit of an ethical Sikh way of life. Gurdwaras are being drained of their Gurmat purpose and endless sacrifices that have gone into initiating and sustaining these institutions. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the living/eternal Guru of the Sikhs and the physical manifestation of Vahegurus spirit. Respect for Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the duty (Jeevan) of every Sikh.

This commentary is an open invitation for all sangat to unite and take collective responsibility. A true Sikh never prays for private wealth or private gain. Instead, a Sikh always prays for "sarbat da bhalla" - abiding fully with Vaheguru's global hukum (earthquakes, tsunamis, life, death, bliss, sadness, or whatever ordained). A Sikh accepts that graceful participation in the entire journey of life - as given and shaped by Vaheguru is a fulfilling and purposeful experience. Mistakes will be made as we are all human but it is one thing unknowingly making mistakes and another knowingly. We must begin to put things right.

If you think you can assist with giving guidance to help tackle the above issues or if your Gurdwara wishes to take a lead in tackling the issues we have highlighted we will sincerely welcome your support.

We are currently compiling a list of sevadars, Gurdwaras and organizations who want to be part of this conversation and play a role in preventing the further erosion of Sikhi values by upholding
the venerable satkar for Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Please provide your considered guidance; it will be respectfully welcomed and listened to.

We wish to develop a genuine Khalsa alliance to uphold Sikhi principles in our institutions. Any individuals, organizations or Gurdwaras who wish to play a role in this endeavour can email on ka-uk@khalsa.com or contact us on 07951 748015.

Most of all we urge all Sikhs to take the task of joint responsibility and stop leaving our collective problems for someone else to sort out. We must be honest about Sikhi principles and not selfish about compromising these principles for our own benefit or for the benefit of our friends, relations or acquaintances.

Khalsa Alliance.

Khalsa Aid Slams United Sikhs

Ravinder Singh is founder and chief coordinator of Khalsa Aid. He can be reached via email at ravisingh@aol.com.

The Sikh Times, Jan. 21, 2006

Photo: Ravinder Singh, founder and chief coordinator of Khalsa Aid

Since Khalsa Aid was launched in 1999 a lot of similar Sikh organisations have suddenly mushroomed overnight. Most of them, purely for individual or monetary gain. Humanitarian disasters have become a massive money-making and political business. I have been involved in many relief operations since 1999 and have also seen many groups who have state-of-the-art photographic equipment but do very little actual relief work. Their well-presented Web sites give a very different picture.

Khalsa Aid has been approached many times by Majinderpal Kaur of United Sikhs to form some sort of partnership. We have always been against this idea as Khalsa Aid is purely a humanitarian organisation and United Sikhs is involved in politics. Further, Khalsa Aid is a U.K. registered charity and United Sikhs is not. I am aware that they were working with Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia.

It was during the Tsunami relief efforts that I really got to know how United Sikhs functions.

Majinderpal Kaur went visiting to all the gurdwaras [Sikh places of worship] in the U.K. who had been supporting Khalsa Aid since 1999 to ask for donations (Tsunami donations) collected from the sangat [Sikh community] to be given to United Sikhs by showing fancy PowerPoint presentations. I was getting a lot of calls from confused gurdwara committee members asking if Khalsa Aid was working with United Sikhs. The answer was always NO, despite the hints they were receiving about our 'collaboration' with Majinderpal Kaur.

I got to Chennai [Madras] to meet our India partners, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle (Mumbai branch) to launch our relief operation for the Tsunami effected areas. The great sewadars [volunteers] from the Study Circle were Kulwant Singh (general secretary), Ravinder Singh and Bhupinder Singh. The United Sikhs local representative was Ishar Singh from Hyderabad. After a couple of days of setting up relief operations in Tamil Nadu we all flew to Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

There were Sikh families (on Campbell Bay) who needed assistance in the southern-most islands, so Khalsa Aid decided to launch operations in several areas of the islands to help the Sikhs. After some discussions, I decided to send Kulwant Singh as a Khalsa Aid representative and Ishar Singh joined him while I remained behind to oganise the logistics for the relief materials. During the two days I spent on Port Blair with Ishar Singh he was hardly ever off the phone. He must have used thousands of Rupees daily on calls to America, Malaysia, etc. All of this from the sangat's donations. He almost got himself and us kicked off the islands for threatening the district collector with political vengeance if he didnt get a private helicopter for himself.

At the same time he was sending photos to be posted on the United Sikhs Web site. While Kulwant Singh and Ishar Singh were with the Sikh inhabitants of Campbell Bay, the United Sikh Web site was informing the sangat that Ishar Singh gave away Rupees 4.5 lakh [4,50,000] to the Sikhs of Campbell Bay. When they returned from their visit I asked Kulwant Singh about the Rupees 4.5 lakh donation. He was very surprised and told me that Ishar Singh gave about Rupees 15,000 in total. I challenged Ishar Singh on this issue. At first, he denied making the false report and then said it must have been an error on the Web site.

I got very busy with our operations on several fronts on different islands. We were building toilets, supplying food, sanitation equipment and building materials. Within two days of arriving I had set up a supply line through different ships and had 5 tons of food dispatched to the Sikhs. In the mean time Ishar Singh had disappeared from the islands. But the United Sikhs Web site was doing an excellent job of displaying the photos which he took and videos he made of the Sikhs on Campbell Bay. However, they still had not delivered a single piece of relief material to the islands. Their Web site kept asking for donations to continue their aid program on these islands. How could they continue when they never started any relief program!

Khalsa Aid had a request from Sikh families for women's and men's underwear as well as more sanitation equipment, which was hastily arranged and put on a ship with a sewadar from the Study Circle accompanying the materials. I flew back to Chennai to coordinate further relief efforts and to check on the Tamil Nadu project. I met several more young people who had travelled from Punjab, U.S., etc. on behalf of United Sikhs. They had no coordination and no leadership as Ishar Singh had simply disappeared. They were mostly staying in the gurdwara in Chennai.

The United Sikhs Web site was updated daily with more photographs and videos but during the four weeks I spent there they did not deliver any relief to the islands but were constantly and vigorously asking for donations through their Web site to 'continue' the relief program. They had a lot of volunteers (tickets most likely paid for by the sangat) but no direction. Khalsa Aid arranged for Jet Air to fly in two tons of food to the islands. They took photos of that batch of food to claim as their own. The tons of food and clothing the Study Circle sent from Mumbai became another opportunity for United Sikhs to take photos and claim as their relief goods.

I returned to the U.K. to find Majinderpal still going around gurdwaras claiming to be involved in very 'hectic' relief programs on the islands. I must say, they had all the top equipment for presentations.

I returned to the islands a few weeks later to be stopped by the C.I.D. at Port Blair airport asking all sorts of questions. I only got away lightly because a C.I.D. person with whom I had become friends and who admired the work of Khalsa Aid had intervened. I had never been stopped before during my several trips. I was stopped because United Sikhs had sent very naive and inexprienced people from the U.S. to restricted areas on the islands and who were instantly arrested and put in a local jail overnight and then deported back to Chennai. Funnily enough, this was never mentioned in the United Sikhs press releases. This was down to a total lack of leadership and proper planning and done in haste to be seen on the islands. There were at least six to eight of these youngsters, their air tickets to India must have cost a good few dollars and then the airfare to Port Blair as well as other expenses. I still did not see any member of United Sikhs actually providing relief on the islands.

I know many gurdwaras were repeatedly visited by Majinderpal in the U.K. United Sikhs did recieve large sums of money from the gurdwaras (£39000 from one gurdwara alone). I hate seeing the sangat's money going to waste or misdirected. The gurdwaras have a responsibility to the sangats. The sangats should demand to see the final destination of their donations and a regular report on the usage of the funds.

United Sikhs have no accountabilty in the U.K. So how does the sangat know where the money has gone and about their stucture of paid staff? How much actually went to the relief effort and how much toward salaries and political activities? I saw a lot of fancy photos and presentations but no work by them at all on the islands. They must have collected several $100,000 from the U.K. and the U.S./Canada. Where did it all go? I was shocked at the aggressive way in which United Sikhs approached the gurdwaras in the U.K. Majinderpal actually tried very hard to get Khalsa Aid and United Sikhs together and was even abusive to a senior member of Khalsa Aid (Bherminder Singh) when she was told to back off from stirring dissension within Khalsa Aid by phoning different memebers. She even denied to Bherminder Singh that Khalsa Aid was actually active on the islands.

Actual humanitarian work involves a lot of effort and coordination. The burden of the sangats' expectations is the most difficult burden of all. Like I have already mentioned previously, there are groups and individuals who see disasters as an opportunity to build a power base with the money donated by the well-meaning sangats.

United Sikhs' aggressiveness in collecting funds has made me feel very uneasy and I hope I or other Khalsa Aid members never chase money in that manner. Khalsa Aid works on trust and we leave the donations to the sangats who are our ultimate judges. I did not want to write this critique, but I feel a responsibility to the sangats, especially as I have been involved in relief work for several years through the sangats' trust.

The sangats' donations should not be unaccounted for or misdirected whether it be by a gurdwara committee, an individual, or an organisation.


Cultural Genocide - lest we forget

"The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then you have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was."
Milan Kundera, The Book Of Laughter and Forgetting

I was reminded of this quote while reading the review of The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War by Robert Bevan.

In times of conflict, buildings are inevitably damaged or destroyed. But there has always been another war against architecture: the destruction of the built artefacts of a people or nation as a means of cultural cleansing or division. In this war, architecture takes on a totemic quality: a mosque is not simply a mosque but represents the presence of a community. A library or an art gallery is a cache of cultural memory – evidence of the reality of that community’s history that extends and legitimizes it in the present.

It is only 21 years ago that along with the loss of many thousands of lives, vital components of Sikh history, life and worship were destroyed when the Indian Army attacked Shi Harmander Sahib in June of 1984.

It also worth bearing in mind that it was not just the Harmander Sahib that was attacked:

… across Panjab hundreds of Sikhs were murdered in the army operation and 42 other Gurdwaras being raided simultaneously as Sri Harmandar Sahib was attacked. Gurdwaras in
Moga, Mukatsar, Faridkot, Patiala, Ropar and Chowk Mehta reported high casualties.

Not content with reducing the Akal Takht to rubble the solidiers then proceeded to loot and destroy the Sikh Reference Library. It is estimated that over 10,000 religious books, manuscripts and relics were looted.

The Sikh Reference Library was established in 1947 by the SGPC based on the Central Sikh Library; which in turn had been setup earlier by the Sikh History Society.

It housed some rare source documents on Sikhism, the origin of Khalsa, hand-written manuscripts, Hukamnamas, Leases, Certificates, ancient pictures …

… according to a publication by Shamsher Singh Ashok (Historian and research scholar of SGPC) called “Sada Hath Likhat Sahit” (our hand-written literature) published in 1968, there were 383 volumes in this library which dealt with 980 different topics. In addition, there were many Hukamnamas by the Sikh Gurus, 2500 hand-written copies of Guru Granth Sahib, a Bir (of Guru Granth Sahib) of Bhai Hardas which bore a handwritten Mul Mantar page by Guru Teg Bahadar Ji. There were many illustrated Birs, Janamsakhis, and rare Sikh scriptures. Among many other it had “Kavendar Parkash by Sant Nihal Singh; Ajit Sagar by Surjan Singh, Bhagat Sudhasar by Bhai Bidhi Das, Bhagat Premakar by poet Jassa Singh, Bansavalinama by Kesar Singh Chhibar and many more such historical books. The library had about 20,000 such books in June 1984 according to the Library officials. There were many copies of Guru Granth Sahib which were extremely valuable. There also was a manuscript which was prepared by Guru Gobind Singh five years after the martyrdom of Guru Teh Bahadar Ji. He himself added the Bani of the Ninth Guru in that manuscript at Damdama Sahib. The date of this copy of Guru Granth Sahib was 1739 Bikrami.

This was a deliberate attack on the Sikh nation and had been in the planning for over a year, with the Indian army rehearsing their attack on a replica of Sri Harmandar Sahib 18 months prior to the final assault, which took place on Guru Arjan Dev Patshah’s Shahadat Gurpurab.

21 years later none of the looted manuscripts have been returned nor has it been officially established why the Army deliberately destroyed the Sikh Reference Library. However not content with physical attacks and the destruction of our literature, new literature that deliberately distorts Sikhism has been given official status in Indian classrooms; in one instance depicting Sri Guru Tegh Bahadar as committing suicide instead of gaining Shaheedi in defending the rights of other religions.

All of which leaves one to ponder further on Milan Kundera words, not only does he speak of the destruction of culture and history, but he explictly mentions the production of new histories as written by others.

I believe it’s worth repeating his words.

"The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then you have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was."

From: http://solarider.org/blog/

Scars In Life

(This was submitted by a user of the site via email, to inspire us all - thanks R)

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole that was behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went.he flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.In the house, his mother was looking out the window. She saw the two as they got closer and closer together.in utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could.hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed, and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late.just as he reached her, the alligator reached him.from the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms, just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began a very incredible tug-of-war between the two.the alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go.a farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim,and shot the alligator..Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. On his arms, there were deep scratches where his mother's fingernails dug into his flesh, in her effortto hang on to the son she loved. the newspaper reporter, who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked the boy if he would show him his scars.the boy lifted his pant legs. Then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter,"But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my mom wouldn't let go."

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly, and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been right there, holding on to you.

The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you, and provide for you in every way. But, sometimes, we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril ~ and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That is when the tug-of-war begins. If you have the scars of His love on your arms, be very, very grateful. He will not ever let you go.

God has blessed you, so that you can be a blessing to others.

You just never know where a person is in his/her life, and what they are going through.never judge another persons scars, because you don't know how they got them.Also, it is so important that we are not too selfish to receive the blessings of these messages without forwarding them to someone else.

Right now, someone needs to know that God loves them, and you love them too ~ enough to not let them go!!!

Truth is higher than everything...but higher STILL..is TRUTHFUL LIVING......!!!!

Learning From Frogs

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?" The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

This story teaches two lessons:
1. There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day.

2. A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill them. Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path.

The power of words....it is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way. Anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times!

Sort of a lame example, but it makes sense :)

Wooden Bowl

Waheguroo Jee Ka Khalsa!
Waheguroo Jee Kee Fateh!!

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and a four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together nightly at the dinner table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating rather difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass often milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about grandfather," said the son. I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor. So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner at the dinner table. Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. Sometimes when the family glanced in grandfather's direction, he had a tear in his eye as he ate alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food from when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work. The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their ch
eeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.

For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

Children are remarkably perceptive. Their eyes ever observe, their ears ever listen, and their minds ever process the messages they absorb. If they see us patiently provide a happy home atmosphere for family members, they will imitate that attitude for the rest of their lives. The wise parent realizes that every day that building blocks are being laid for the child's future.

Let us all be wise builders and role models.

Sangat Ji this doesnt only apply to how we should behave infront of children, it applies to how we should act infront of the world. The best way of preaching is not through words but through actions

Remember your a ambassador of the panth...live up the responsibility given to you by Satguru Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji

Take care of yourself, ... and
those you love, ... today, and everyday!

Waheguroo Jee Ka Khalsa!
Waheguroo Jee Kee Fateh!!

When your on your knee's...

Remember, when the world pushes you to your knees, you're in the perfect position to pray.

Nana ji & Nani ji - My Inspiration

(Nana = Grandfater, Nani = Grandmother)

Nana ji and Nani ji always lived a life that served as a shining example of Sikhi.

Akaal Purakh ji(God) has bestowed me with a lot of great sangat & Nani ji had such a warm, kind open-heart that would put anyone at ease in moments.

They took amrit together before marrying and kept very strong rehat for 65 years since. They both did a lot of sewa in the local community. Aged over 80; she always jested of her mortality to try to prevent us from getting too attached while loving her.

They had control over 5 vices and had a very selfless love for each other. A few months back Nani ji was diagnosed with gall bladder cancer which was advancing quickly.

The doctors wanted her to stay in hospital- she agreed providing she wouldn’t be separated from her 5 kakaars.
Nana ji is chardhi kalaa and didn’t shed a tear saying that we should understand pain and pleasure are one and the same. Everyday he sat at her bedside reciting the Nitnem and Sukhmani Sahib prayers from memory to her. He watched as the cancer spread from her gall bladder to her vital organs like the liver.

We watched him look at her in total acceptance of God’s Will & over the weeks she got more ill. There was a 24/7 vigil of relatives and friends at her bedside and she stopped eating as the cancer was in her gall bladder. Then she stopped drinking and soon her kidneys failed. She retained all liquid from the IV drip and got more and more ill.

Nana ji told us all sakhia(stories) of how everyone, from Bhai Khanaiya to Ravan ALL had to leave their mortal coil. We told him Nani ji was getting weaker and many cried and asked him why he wasn’t.

Nana ji recited the lavaan and other Gurbani explaining their meaning and that despite being married for over 65 years and having a strong love for each other they always remembered they were mortal and as His creation it would be better attaching themselves to Waheguru. He explained we should always happily and humbily surrender to the sweetest Will of the Lord and she always remembered death long, long before she was told she had cancer as she treated each day she was given by Waheguru as a gift to repeat His Name.

She was at peace and detached from this world and everything in it. She peacefully completed the remaining God-given number of breaths, her soul began losing attachment to her body and she departed in the sangat of all her loved ones at amritwela listening to Mool Mantar prayer.

After tending to formalities, Nana ji then led the recitation of morning prayers.

Extract from:

From Addict to Gursikh

A story of how one addict gave his life style of sex, drink and drugs up for the ultimate nasha of naam, Khandai De Paul. He gave up his so called "love" for the true everlasting LOVE.


By Harjit Singh Lakhan

5 Aug 2003

My friend G Singh in Birmingham told me his story at a kids camp July 2002. He used to be a drug pusher and addict on the streets of manchester. He ran away from home aged 13 and lived with thieves and druggies. He kidnapped, raped and other unspeakable things in order to get money for drugs. Only his mother believed in him, that he was better than that. She used to see him once a month and go to gurdwara do shoe seva with a handkerchief and wipe that on his forehead while he was knocked out drunk or drugged out. One he even put a knife to her throat because she wouldnt give him money for drugs. One day she told him there's a better drug, a new wonder drug that he needs to try. His eyes lit up at the thought of how much money he would make. Then he asked her what this drug was. She said it was "Khandeh batta da Amrit". He looked away disappointed and ignored her.

She insisted he try it and he would never go back to his old drugs. to appease her he said well I'll only take it if I can have it today. Amazed that he'd even considered it, she phoned every gurdwara and jatha but there where no amrit sanchars anywhere. Then she said I'll take you to India, he said get the tickets right now otherwise its off. By guru's kirpa she didnt need the tickets because she called the Singhs up in South Shields, they said "A singh wants to take amrit ... we'll come and get him!"

When she told G Singh they were coming to get him, he started thinking twice about it and said no no I'll go up by myself. She knew he wouldn't so sent her younger son, the one with the a joora to go with him on the train. On the train to his amrit ceremony, he was smoking drugs with one hand and drinking the strongest cans of alcohol. The other hand was on the mobile to his girlfriend who was shouting at him for not coming home. He had tatoos all over his arms, earings and piercings and torn jeans and clothes. worst of all he stunk of alcohol and drugs.

When they got off the train a short stocky singh with a long beard greeted them. He said 'So you're here to take amrit' and he hugged the younger brother. The kid shook his head and said 'no its not me' and pointed to his brother. The Singh was gobsmacked but smiled and hugged G Singh close to his chest. G Singh said that changed his life. He said no-one had ever loved him, his girlfriend was just a purely sexual relationship. He felt so guilty that being so filthy he had made the Singh dirty.

They took him to the Gurdwara and explained a few things about amrit and told him to think about it for 24 hrs then decide if he really wanted it. They gave him a shower, a kurtha pyjama and took him for a walk around the park explaining things like he wont be able to have drugs or alcohol again, and he'd have to marry his girlfriend and ask her to have amrit as well so they could live a gursikh life. He agreed to the first part and said he was ready to dump his grilfriend- there was no pyare there.

In the early hours the Singhs started the amritvela naam japna, he heard it in his room and it enticed him , he sat and listened and cried his eyes out. They took him for another walk around the park and helped him think about what was happening. He said he was so happy because for the last 12 hours he hadnt touched drugs or alcohol and that was a true miracle for him. As he was so addicted he couldnt even go a few minutes without. He was so addicted he only weighed 6 stone and looked a walking skeleton. He had blood in his and was on the verge of self-destructing.

In the morning the Singhs served him with so much pyare, offereing him lots of cereals, and toast, making his breakfast , taking his dishes. He was overwhelemed. In his sangat of thieves and druggies the only code was each man for himself, TAKE TAKE TAKE , if you didnt grab it by force then you wouldnt get it. He was blown away by the amount of love the Singhs gave. The Singhs did the amrit sinchar just for him.

For two whole days he didnt know where his soul was - blissed out. One of the Singhs took a whole week off work and taught him to read and pronounce Japji sahib. Amazing when you conmsider he didnt even know how to read or write english as he had dropped out of school when he about 7.

He called home and told his mum he wouldnt be coming home yet as he loved the singhs, she was ecstatic 'Dont worry son you stay there as long as you want'.

The following week he went on a tour of the UK gurdwara with his cousin and brother (1996). They met me in Southall gurdwara, doing seva in the langar. I remember greeting them and talking to them. I didnt know any of his history , I just saw a Gursikh wearing bana like me. They said they need some shabad kirtan gutka as it was hard to get them up north, so I took them home and we did kirtan in my liitle room and I gave them some english gutka I had.

They didnt tell me all of the above. I only found out 6 years later a few weeks ago when I met G Singh again at a camp in Birmingham. I didnt realise the effect I also had on him. He said 'You didnt know me, a total stranger, yet you too gave us so much pyare I was blown away' . Then after he left me he went to Leicester. The missed the train and a Singh at the station offered for them to stay with him the night. He was in chardhikalla.

When they got to his house they saw he had an 18 year old son who was comp letely wheelchair bound unable to do anything for himself. The Singhs had a 24 by 7 rota to look after the son day in day out 365 days a year. When he asked the Singh arent you upset with God for doing this to you? The Singh said, It all good , whatever good does is good, I'm happy, very happy." Once again G Singh was blown away with the Gursikh.

The Singhs arranged his marriage, his wife knew of his past, but didnt mind. Many hard times came and he craved the drugs again, especially as he knew who to get them from. Once he came home with a bag full of cocaine and stared at it on his kitchen table. He was that close to going back to his old ways. There and then he did ardas guru ji I need to move away from Manchester, from all this bad sangat. He had tried selling his house before but it was a rundown area and no one was interested. Yet the next day a pakistani man knocked on his door and offered them more than market values for their house!

They moved to Birmingham for sangat. Even their some more Singhs, got him a house and a job. He paid them back the deposit and says he has sukhmani sahib programme one a month. Even when they were driving around looking for a house they saw a for sale sign and one chardhi-kalla Singh said to G Singh, thats going to be your house. Next time they went by it had a sold sign, G Singh was disappointed. But the chardhikalla singh said , no thats going to be your house. So the Singhs got together and did chaupee sahib the paat and amazingly the house came back on the market!

He still gets cravings, but can only control it with sangat. He says he now does talks to kids about the evils of drugs and tells them what happened to him.

Please forward to anyone who could benefit from a BOOST!

Guru Nanak Dev Ji's 10 Stages of Life

'pehilai piaar lugaa thhun dhudhh
First, the baby loves mother's milk;

dhoojai maae baap kee sudhh
second, he learns of his mother and father;

theejai bhuyaa bhaabhee baeb
third, his brothers, sisters-in-law and sisters;

chouthhai piaar oupu(n)nee khaedd
fourth, the love of play awakens.

pu(n)juvai khaan peean kee dhhaath
Fifth, he runs after food and drink;

shhivai kaam n pushhai jaath
sixth, in his Sexual desire, he does not respect social customs.

suthuvai su(n)j keeaa ghur vaas
Seventh, he gathers wealth and dwells in his house;

at(h)uvai krodhh hoaa thun naas
eighth, he becomes angry, and his body is consumed.

naavai dhhoulae oubhae saah
Ninth, he turns grey, and his breathing becomes labored;

dhusuvai dhudhhaa hoaa suaah
tenth, he is cremated, and turns to ashes.

ge ae sigeeth pukaaree dhhaah
His companions send him off, crying out and lamenting.

ouddiaa hu(n)s dhusaaeae raah
The swan of the soul takes flight, and asks which way to go.

aaeiaa gaeiaa mueiaa naao
He came and he went, and now, even his name has died.

pishhai puthal sadhihu kaav
After he left, food was offered on leaves, and the birds were called to come and eat.

naanuk munumukh a(n)dhh piaar
O Nanak, the self-willed manmukhs love the darkness.

baajh guroo ddubaa su(n)saar
Without the Guru, the world is drowning.'

Guru Nanak Dev Ji (Ang 137)

What stage are YOU at now?

How do we get out of this cycle of mankind?

Stop wanting things, and start wanting Guru Ji/Vaheguru's lap.

Ingredients of a Sikh

One part saint, one part soldier,
One part that's always learning
As one grows older.

One part service, one part sword,
One part that's ever-evolving
On life's drawing-board.

One part spiritual, one part political,
One part that aims to expose
All that's hypocritical.

One part fearless, one part unthreatening,
One part that continues to hear
When the din is deafening.

One part meditative, one part martial,
One part that's eyes remain open
Yet is completely impartial.

One part kettle, one part kirpan,
One part that keeps collecting knowledge
As the clock ticks on.

One part kirtan, one part prayer,
One part that sheds light on it all
So the whole sangat can share.

One part devotion, one part action,
One part that speaks the truth
Regardless of sanction.

One part candle, one part flame,
One part literal translation
Of our famed "Sikh" name.

One part Nanak, nine parts thereafter,
Blessed by Guru Granth Sahib,
Our eternal chapter.

Sikhs are Muslims

Extract from a blog:

Sikhs are hindus. they are no different than Hindus. Guru gobind Singh created khalsa to defend hinduism from muslims.

NO old sikh book says that sikhs are different to hindus. now people are trying to prove that sikhs and hindus are different religions. Bhai amrit singh is one of these people.

For first time, brahman sikhs of sarhadi suba of pakistan declared that they are not hindus. it happened during british raj. these brahman Sikhs went to hardwar where hindu brahmans insulted them that they worship a khatri guru. Angered on this, Brahman sikhs of sarhadi suba claimed that they are not hindus but sikhs. from this point a thin line was drawn between hindus and sikhs. it was started by sarhadi brahman sikhs. they were first in this world who declared that sikhs are not hindus. otherwise no other sikh text says that sikhs are not hindus.

these brahman sikhs impressed some khatri sikhs of sarhadi suba and they started to believe also that sikhs are not hindus. all this bakvas was started by brahman sikhs and spread by khatri sikhs of sarhadi suba. punjabi sikhs always believe in hindu sikh unity.

on amritworld site bhai amrit singh dedicate his site to people. they are from sarhadi suba. so it is clear that bhai amrit singh is spreading sarhadi suba views in punjab and uk.


Sikhs worship 1 God, Hinduism has literally millions

Sikhi is strongly against caste, Hinduism is BASED on caste

Sikhs dont wear janeeou (sacred thread) as Guru Nanak Dev Ji strongly apposed it, Hindus still wear it to this day

Hindus cut their hair, practicing Sikhs don’t cut their hair

Hindus worship idols, which is also heavily criticised in Gurbani

"The fools consider Vaheguru a stone, for they do not know the difference the lifeless stone and the living God. "
Chaupai Sahib, 4th Holy Prayer of the Sikhs.

Sikhs are forbidden to fast, Hindus routinely fast

Sikhs spiritual guide is the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Hindus have the Vedas/Gita

Hindus are not forbidden to smoke tobacco, Sikhs are strictly forbidden to even touch it

Sikhs are forbidden from eating meat, Hindus have no such restriction

Hindus holiest shrine is Hardawar, Sikhs holiest shrine is Amritsar/Hazoor Sahib

There is nothing wrong with Hindu people, there religion is perfect for them. But Sikhs have a separate, very unique religion.

I cant really understand how people can make blanket statements like "Sikhs are Hindus" without thinking about the amount of differences, like the ones mentioned above.

It is true, many Sikhs people do many things much like Hindu people in India - but those people are not following what Sikhi says.

They are more than likely doing what is culturally done, after all Sikhs do live among Hindu people at the moment.

This blog seems a bit weird in the way that its created to slander an individual which in itself is a very unsikh thing brother ji :)

All the best,
Confused Khalsa