Today was one of those busy days where I couldn’t seem to keep up with all the things that were coming at me during the day. It is now the evening and there is a full moon outside, so even though the sun has set it is still quite bright outside. I’m still in the office, but am feeling more at peace now as I listen to the Gurbani Kirtan which is being played in the Gurdwara (Audio clips below). A nice benefit of working at SikhNet is having the Gurdwara and Akandh Path always right there. The SikhNet offices are in the same building as the Gurdwara.
Every 6th day of the month our community has a special evening Gurdwara to remember the Martyrdom of the Akal Takhat (June 6th, 1984). One of the unique parts of this Gurdwara is that everyone from the sangat cooks food, or brings some type of food item for the langar. Everyone places the food before the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and makes a prayer. After Gurdwara when langar is served you get a medley of all types of food, deserts, drinks, etc. It is always very warm and cozy sitting together after Gurdwara and having the food made by the sangat.
This time of year is also memorable for me, because it is right before the Birthday of Guru Ram Das Ji (Oct. 9th), and the 2nd Barsi (death anniversary) of Siri Singh Sahib ji (Oct. 6th 2004).
As I sit here thinking about this, feelings of emotion come as I remember two years ago when Siri Singh Sahib ji passed away. This was the first time that I had had someone close to me die. The Siri Singh Sahib was like a father/grandfather/teacher to so many people. Over the past 35+ years so many people’s lives were changed. He spent his entire life (almost every hour of the day/night) sharing the teachings of the Gurus and inspiring people to become better and more conscious humans. Many Sikhs misunderstand the deep respect that people like myself have towards him and think that we consider him as another "Sikh Guru". It’s as if it is triggering some unconscious fear in people as a result of other situations from the past. When you come and get to know people from our sangat better and the things that he taught you will get a better understanding and hopefully see things differently.
My mother was just a teenager when she met Siri Singh Sahib/Yogi Bhajan. She was like many others who were inspired by his universal message….and yearned to learn more. I personally have learnt so much from him, and as a result am doing what I am doing because of his guidance. You can read the article that I wrote last year around this time about SSS Harbhajan Singh Khalsa & His Impact on Me which will hopefully give you one perspective.
Ultimately the Guru can work through all of us. For whatever reason Guruji guided the Siri Singh Sahib to come to the west (America/Canda) and start teaching about living healthy, happy and holy lives. One of the "side effects" was that many people were curious about the him being a Sikh, and later adopted the Sikh lifestyle. As a result "seeds" were planted which are growing and flourishing today. 50 years from now I can only imagine what these "seeds" will have grown into, and how they will have spread far and wide.
He used to always say… "Don’t love me… love the teachings"…. or…. "I have not come to get students, but to create teachers for tommorow".
Another one of his messages which is a constant reminder to me, and check for myself in not letting ego take hold when you serve others.
"A teacher is not a person. He is like a water pipe. A pipe brings water to you; pipe is not water, water is not pipe. They are just media. Teacher is a medium of teaching. It is the teaching which you live, not the teacher." – Yogi Bhajan
The thing is that it was never about HIM. It was about sharing the Guru’s light with others, and helping people to see the inner light which is inside us all.
Every 6th of the month evening Gurdwara Shanti Kaur Khalsa tells a story to the Sangat. Normally it is a story from the time of the Gurus. Tonight she shared a story about an important aspect of the Siri Singh Sahib’s life – his decision to renounce his occult powers and grasp hold of the feet of Guru Ram Das. What are Tattva Sidhis? Where do they come from, and what place do they have in our world? Why were the Sikh Guru’s against occult powers, and why did the Siri Singh Sahib renounce them, and if all this is true, why then do we call Guru Ram Das the "Lord of Miracles". This was the single most important decision in the life of this great man, and his seva in the west came as a result.
So set aside 20 minutes and have a listen to Shanti Kaur telling the very interesting stories along with hearing the other audio from the Gurdwara tonight….
Story Told by Shanti Kaur Khalsa
Guru Guru Wahe Guru, Guru Ram Das Guru Chanting
Dhan Dhan Ram Das Guru
Played by Dharam Singh, Guru Kirin Kaur and Family from tonight’s Gurdwara. Some of the instruments remind me of the beatles.