ANSWERING THE CALL

Here is another poem by Gurukirin Kaur from the same book "Pure Longing Fulfilled" which is a beautiful book of art and poetry. This poem tells the story from March of 1996 when Gurukirin Kaur and a group of American & Indian Amritdhari women were (somewhat) allowed to do the ishnaan seva at the Golden Temple under the protection and guidance of Singh Sahib Bhai Manjit Singh, the then acting-Jathedar of the Akal Takhat.

Answering the Call
by Gurukirin Kaur Khalsa

From the Head Jathedar had come the call,
For women to wash the floors
Of the Harimandir Sahib in Amritsar,
The Golden Temple, whose four doors
Face the four corners of the world,
As open as heaven’s gate,
Except in the earliest hours of the morn,
When women are made to wait
Outside while men alone clean the dust
Left by the holy saint’s feet.
Yet now, his call had come to us,
This sacred rite to complete.

From the West, we made the trip
To the holy nectar tank.
Bowed our heads, took a sip and a dip
And humbly gave our thanks
For this chance to honor the God in all,
Regardless of race, gender, or caste.
By answering the Jathedar’s call
We truly felt that at last
Women would be honored as in Nanak’s song
Of Bandh Jameeai,
And she who had been separated for so long
Would be bathed in the Guru’s ray.

Fireworks burst over the water that night,
During the reading of Kirtan Sohila,
In honor of this, the very first time
That women would perform this seva.
And so with hearts glad and spirits high,
We dressed in our best for the occasion.
Walking down from the Nivas, we felt we could fly,
No doubt, no hesitation
Entered our minds as we bowed our foreheads
And welcomed the cool marble’s kiss.
We felt that the hand of destiny had led
Us to this experience of bliss.

Continue Reading The Poem