We Are the Khalsa – A Legacy of Service

The Sadh Sangat of Sikh Dharma held its first celebration of Baisakhi in Los Angeles in April, 1970. In December of 1970, 84 Western Sikhs traveled on a yatra to India with Yogi Harbhajan Singh (later to have the titles of Siri Singh Sahib and Bhai Sahib bestowed on him at Akal Takhat Sahib), and in Amritsar, those ‘new’ Sikhs received Amrit from the Panj Piare at Akal Takhat Sahib. These were American youth in their early twenties, inspired to live as Khalsa as a result of their deep respect for and aspiration to live to the example of Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, who had embarked upon his service of inspiring the youth of the West to the Khalsa life-style, as a step in the fulfillment of Guru Gobind Singh’s prophesy that 960,000,000 we shall be. He was most humble in his approach to his service of Guru, as exemplified by his action at that moment when these 84 students came to cross the threshold of Akal Takhat Sahib to receive Amrit. He would not cross the threshold with them; “I have brought you this far. Now you go the remainder of the distance without me, as this is a relationship between you and Guru.”

In June of 1973, the Siri Singh Sahib appointed Singh Sahib Dayal Singh as Head Granthee for Sikh Dharma and bestowed upon him the title of Bhai Sahib. Bhai Sahib Dayal Singh was only 17 years old at the time but he had a fervent love for the Guru and Gurbani. He was a constant sevadar, mowing lawns, cooking langar, sweeping the Gurdwara steps, placing fresh cut flowers in front of the Guru. Always full of love, smiles, and constant encouragement for everyone. With his incredible devotion he was one of the first persons to teach many Western Sikhs how to read Gurmukhi, how to recite their Banis, and how to do Prakash and Sukhasn seva and conduct a kirtan program. On Baisakhi Day, April 13, 1974 Sant Mihen Singh and his followers, while visiting Los Angeles, distributed Amrit to Western born Sikhs at Guru Ram Das Ashram and Bhai Sahib Dayal Singh served as one of the Panj Piare on that day, thus becoming the first Western born Sikh ever to administer Amrit. An Amrit Sanchar was held every year thereafter on Baisakhi in Los Angeles.

It was a great loss to the Panth Khalsa when Bhai Sahib Dayal Singh left for the heavenly abode resulting from a fatal car accident on September 22nd, 1975, just short of his 21st birthday, en route to New York, where he was to depart for India and a visit to the Golden Temple.

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