Espanola – Questions for the Sangat?

This sunday we are celebrating “Guru Gaddi Day”. The day Siri Guru Granth Sahib was made the Guru by Guru Gobind Singh. We normally have morning langar at someone’s house near the Gurdwara and then have a Nagar Kirtan /Jaloose towards the Gurdwara.

I have taken tons of pictures in the past and was thinking of doing some video this time. Especially since I am in the video “mode”. I have wanted to do a video about the Espanola Community so this might be a chance to start doing some footage.

Here is where you come in. I am curious to know any questions you might have about the Sikhs in Espanola. What things you might like to see. I would like to do some interviews with people, so if you have any suggestions for topics or questions please post them as a comment. I don’t have a whole lot of time for a full video…but was thinking to start with some interviews and general footage.

27 Responses to “Espanola – Questions for the Sangat?”

  1. palvin says:

    waheguroo ji ka khalsa waheguroo ji ki fateh…well i would like to see the daily routine of the sangat there..what they do how they do thing the nagara kirtan kirtan katha gatka nagar kirtan weddding…lol..is tht to much…but mostly everything the sangat there does..cause we wana learn something from them..waheguroo ji ka khalsa waheguroo ji ki fateh

  2. manpreet says:

    Sorry, i forgot to ask about the interview.
    I am very interested in an interview with the head granthi. Since there is no gurdwara commitee ( i think i read this on Prabhu's blog) how are things handled?
    Sangat looks so peaceful and in harmony (sadly, in other countries they seem to be enemies sometimes)
    So this interview could have a real "lighthouse function"!
    Sat Shri Akal!

  3. I have seen a lot of news of hurricanes and natural disasters in New Mexico. How have these affected the Espinola community and other neighbouring communities? Fateh Ji.

    (Jazzy Singhson from http://singhsons.blogspot.com)

  4. Angad Singh says:

    Will be a good start for the Bachola Service…

  5. manpreet says:

    Sat Nam!

    Thank you for giving us the chance to ask “your head off” (this is not really possible since you gave your head to Guru Ji)

    - sikhs are a minority in Espanola How do they relate to non sikhs?
    - if you do nagara kirtan for example is this watched by other people? Is there any interfaith support?
    - are the sikhs well accepted? Turban is allowed (i saw the video’s), but is kirpan too allowed legally?
    - are there many non sikhs visitors to the gurdwara and community? Are the sikhs invited to schools to talk about sikhism?
    - American sangat seems well educated. Is it easy to find a job when keeping full bana?
    - and like Palvin asked, how is the daily routine? Is it difficult to fit this routine in “western” life?
    Dear Gurumustuk, Thank you in advance!

  6. sukhiomani says:

    Dear GM ,

    From last 5 years ( since i came to oman ) , i am in touch with Sikhnet.com and here i would like to mention that ,I am really impressed by proceedings are done at this website , if i look back and see i can;t give back in anyway what this website have given me . A Lot to explore and a lot to learn about SIKH religon. And i always wanted to see in person how it works there at Espanola. Sometimes i am so excited when i watch the Video posted by you on this blog , as if i know more then anyone if someone ask me about that place.
    But one question how you feel that being away from sikh home land , what i mean to say here is that how you feel to take two things ( one is that u r Sikh which is outside from Punjabi Land).
    How Sikhs at espanola are so commited about skihism and other stuff.

  7. Gurkirpal says:

    hello

    how us the WEDDING OVER THERE In ESPANOLA???? how is it being fix???? how people know their match ?? does somebody select???

  8. Gurkirpal says:

    bir Ji

    why are you not questions??????

    is there any problem

  9. Sat sangat jee!
    SAT SRI AKAL.

    How are you all?

    I would really appreciate if you give me some chance to get in contact with you….???

    Please help this lost soul to get in touch with god through any source.

    Thank You All.

  10. Amarjot says:

    Gurumustuk Singh Ji,

    I would like to ask the Sangat of Espanola about their feelings after the passing of Siri Singh Sahib. It is first year of his passing even though I do not live there or had chance to serve my Master but Siri Singh Sahib lives in my heart and I miss him and remember him in every single moment of my life.

    I have always wished to move there in Espanola to be near the sangat and enjoy the divinity and radience of simran and sadhna. I could not be there when Siri Singh Sahib was was physically there but I wish I can move there now to serve sangat as if I am serving him. Maybe open a little Punjabi school for the sangat after Gurudwara or something. What does Sangat of Espanola think about this?

    I have more questions but I gues I will leave here.

    Amarjot

  11. Thank you all for your input! I have taken notes. Please continue adding if you think of more.

  12. Kiren says:

    Satnam Gurumustuk Ji..

    I would love to know what the morning routine is like in the Espanola sangat.. i know that yoga plays a big part in your lives.. maybe a bit more explanation about that and other before-the-day-begins activities?

    also, how do the women feel about adorning the Dastaar? it is not a common thing in the Punjabi community. where does their inspiration stem from?

    what are the challenges in raising Sikh children in an American soceity?

    what are the typical things you do on weekends, holidays etc?

    why is Guru Ram Das Ji such a key figure in the community?

    and since i’m Punjabi, the obvious question: whats the food like? ;)

    also, thank you for giving us the chance to ask questions! although we are bound by our Guru, there is so little we know about our family in that part of the world. the Espanola sangat has brought a new dimension to Sikhi and there is much to learn from you.

    Satnam,
    Kiren

  13. nj_singh says:

    WJKK
    WJKF
    I would like to visit the Espanola community. I read about visiting rules on the Sikhnet and I am not sure whether they apply to non-sikhs and sikhs. Since you have given the chance to ask questions, I would like to clarify this before I plan on visiting. Even though in my heart i know for a Gursikh this shouldn’t be a problem – weekdays, weekends….or is it by appointment only for everyone who is not living in this community.

  14. Gurkirpal says:

    bir ji

    IS guru RAM DAS the favorite Guru.. in ESpanola… beacuse i always hear/read is name in this blog???

  15. NJ Singh: I don’t know what “rules” you read. Maybe this was geared towards some general public 3HO event.

    Everyone is welcome to visit our community. You don’t need an appointment. People drive through all the time, see the Gurdwara…and drive on. It’s a good idea if you want to intermingle with the sangat to plan your trip ahead…because there are times when events are happening and there is more of a chance to participate.

  16. isingh says:

    Gurumustak, good timing! i really needed to hear that. ummmmmm, does anyone(on this blog) know what the origins of worshiping the white skin/people is?

    how come no one wants to know anything about Mr. Hari Chand (i may have his name wrong but he’s the african american guy)? and you know what, i see everything in his EYES that you people see in all other(white) espanola sangat! i bet if there was an african sikh gurdwara there would be no “pilgrimages” to that town or city by the punjabis!

    so here’s a question for the espanola sangat…how do you feel when some punjabis just want to do a drive thru of your community?

    you don’t have to come all the way to espanola to find inspiration! just go to your gurdwaras and talk to the gianis there. it’s okay if they’re brown…it doesn’t make them less knowledgable or is it the cool factor you’re looking for?

    and i’m absolutely sick of people on this blog bashing the brown sangat and leaders when trying to compliment the white sikhs. you don’t have to bash the others to compliment someone!!!!!!!!!!

    and before you argue my point just search this blog first!

    sorry for the rant gurumustak but it’s been brewing for a while now!

  17. isingh says:

    okay my questions. this isn’t really for this occasion but wanted to ask others (peers, parents, elders of Sikh community)…i wasn’t thinking about skin color when i thought of these questions so please anyone and everyone…if you could enlighten me:

    1. Ask the newly weds:

    a. Did you ever think to yourself…how in the world am i going to find a sikh to marry…it’s hard enough as it is
    to find someone that’s compatible with you without all these criterias?
    b. did they ever think about going out of the religion?
    c. What kind of advise can they give to the young people who don’t have a strong sikh community
    around them? How should they treat non-sikhs? How can they send a message(if they don’t wear the baana) to
    their peers that they’re not interested in non-sikhs? What is the best way or is there one to meet someone?

    2. Ask the parents:

    a. what would you have done differently to keep your kids as Sikhs(assuming they’re no longer sikhs)?
    b. What age have you found to be the hardest for kids (being a sikh) and how did you or what did you do/say to get
    through some of the problems?

    3. Ask any white sikh that visited India:
    a. Have you ever felt that you were treated better (in India) than your fellow (brown skin) sikhs along side you?
    b. Have you ever experienced reverse discrimination in US and India ?

  18. Gurinder says:

    I have been to Guru Ram Das gurdwara in Los angeles many times and I have seen White Sikhs, African Sikhs, and Brown Sikhs doing Kirtan. It is a blissful moment to see people of different races are able to join together and sit together and listen to kirtan. Its a magical moment. I have seen all of them doing sewa with their hearts full of devotion towards Guruji and Sangant. Even in our hearts a question about color and race never came up because we saw human beings in a blissful moment.

    I heard Krishna kaur ji doing kirtan ( African female sikh) she has a beautiful voice. I got so touched by the way she did kirtan, can’t describe it with words.

    One day, there were about 15 African people who are learning about sikhism and a optimistic about it.

    I don’t see anything to do with color.

    First, we need to follow SGGS by our hearts and erase the color, race that we still see ourselves. We always tend to project our thoughts on other people,because people like me are still stuck in the color and race.

    The best thing to do is to see it and experience it with our own eyes.

  19. Isingh: I don’t think it is about White Sikhs, brown Sikhs, black sikhs, etc. We have quite the different flavors of colors here in Espanola. It’s ok for people to be inspired and interesting in other Sikhs. It is different for them and they are curious. It is not idolizing or putting us on a higher pedestal. It may seem like that because most of the material on this blog is from our community.

    The fact of the matter is that this blog IS about our community and who we are. It is not there to make me feel good and boost my ego. I don’t support putting anyone down (no matter what their background). My hope with this website is that the lives of our Sangat can be an inspiration to others and that it makes people think about their lives and communties. We are not perfect and have our own problems.

    There are many people that really do just drive through. They are driving to somewhere else…or happen to be near…and visit the Gurdwara and go on. It’s not that they necessarily are looking for inspiration. It is more of a curiousity. Who says you need to come here to be inspired? Who says that you can’t be inspired by your local Giani? I hope you are! In our lives we all find inspiration in different ways. It shouldn’t matter which way. It’s different for everyone.

    Ok…got to go…Ultimate Frisbee Time..

  20. Hareet Singh says:

    Dear GM,

    I wish you to ask the following questions to “late-teenage to early 20″ year old Sikhs. Throughout your websites, there always pictures and descriptions of either the little kids, or parents or newlyweds.

    I ask you to seek out these teenage kids because its during these years that most of the Sikh youth face duality.

    I’m 19 years old now, its fairly hard to relate to a 30 year old Sikh who has already figured out some of his own answers.

    Anyways, I was wondering how my teenage Sikh-counterparts in Espanola deal with issues that relate to drugs, alcohol, peer pressure, fitting in, and being accepted by girls from non-Sikh origin. And, how does choosing a different path then the one thats percieved as “normal” feel? Basically, how do they cope with the duality of this “western college life” and still maintain to be decent Sikhs?

    I have one more question, which is for parents only. It is a fairly hard question, so you need not ask it if you think it will make people uncomfortable.

    How does the Espanola Sikh community deal with children that have chosen to go out of the path and cut their kesh? Specifically one’s own child. My background being Punjabi, you have two types of dealings. Either, the parent cuts the childs hair for him,and wishes for the child to do it, or the child becomes excommunicated at the mere thought of such an action.

    I know one is taught to accept whatever decision his child makes, but its fairly tough to do. Especially when you have a history behind everything. I was wondering how your community deals with that situation with the youth.
    If you do not put any pressure on, and fully accept…then surely the identity will just wash away to “MTV” and secularism.

    Thanks GM, ;)

    -Hareet

  21. isingh says:

    I’m sorry when I said “search this blog” I didn’t mean the content posted by you and other contributors I meant read the comments and reactions posted by the people who visit this blog.

    (of course when i wrote that comment i shouldn’t’ve! because some little critter was pulling on me…and so far you guys (the contributors of this blog) haven’t given me any reason to ever say anything negative about this blog and i always only say positive things about this blog…this blog has done wonders for me…okay i gotta stop…it’s starting to get little too much mushy mush for me…)

    but the fact is people do treat whites and lighter skin brown folks better than any other color in this world…and my question is how did that come about…(obviously a blog is not the place to start this discussion)…but i see it on here as well.

    my daughter is really fair and the first thing people say is “ohh my god, she’s so white!” as if they were complimenting her. WHY? who decided that the color white is better than darker shades? I’ve seen this attitude through out my life (i’m not dark and i’m not light and my wife is really light skinned). and i find it offensive when people go visit espanola just to see white sikhs. i think espanola community has done just fine without…BUT you know what if that’s what inspires them to bring Waheguru in their lives…more power to them! i really shouldn’t have a problem with this result at all (not that anyone cares!:))

    ‘hope you had fun with frisbie!

  22. jasjeet says:

    Interesting questions, dualities, curiosities, etc……waiting for intreseting answers.

    You can do it GM.

    May waheguru kill sangats all doubts,

    regards

  23. Gurinder says:

    Isingh ji,

    Once a while everyone gets PMS, Ha ha just joking!

    I don’t think people go to Espanola to see White Sikhs, I think they go there to see the love and devotion that they have for Guruji!

    when I visited Guru ram das Gurdwara in los angeles I was astonished the respect sangat gives to Guruji and his sangat.

    About the color, Yes, even in India lighter color is considered beautiful. There are thousands of songs for lighter color girl.

    There is history behind it too!!! I learned it in GRADE 8 in social sciences. I promise you that I will not ramble about it anymore!

    Isingh ji, have a cup of tea and be in Chardi kala!!!!

  24. Harpreet Singh: Thanks for the input. I’ll add that to the list. Most of the teenagers from our community are at school in Amritsar (Miri Piri Academy)…so can’t interview them. However…they are in the middle of it and don’t necessarily have the answer. It is there for very valid to hear what 25-30 year old Sikhs think…since they have already passed the stage.

  25. Hey Singh Sahib. I really enjoyed the video with the Gatka and the Sikhs doing Parkash of Guru Maharaj (Espanola Sangat). It was really touching, and the music was awesome. Can you please make another one like that, with Gursikhs from your Sangat doing Kirtan, Seva, Gatka, and other things like Sukhassan Seva etc…i would really enjoy that alot, and it would be very inspirational. Take care Singh Sahib.

  26. Neelu says:

    Hi Gurumustuk,

    Would like to know how often visitors come from other parts of the world to perform kirtan, are they invited, or do they just pass through? I really like Bhai Harbans Singh’s kirtans. Please most more of those.

    Thanks.
    Neil

  27. Neelu says:

    Correction to the last post, “please post more of his kirtans”.