Thoughts and Experiences at Harimandir Sahib

Here is another email from my friend Harkiren Kaur (Malaysia) who has been doing 40 days of seva at Harimandir Sahib along with the students of Miri Piri Academy in Amritsar. You can also read her funny perspective on doing ishnaan seva which I posted a few days back.

"The marble floors of Darbar Sri Harimandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) are washed every morning at 3 a.m .

The Miri Piri Academy (MPA) bus picks Guru Darshan and me up on GT Road just before that, and along with the 50 or so students who have opted to do seva for the 40 days, we sit and wobble (these Indian roads you know!) all the way to the Darbar Sahib.

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Even at day 27 the effect of my morning glimpse of the Darbar Sahib has not worn off. There it sits, so perfectly, in the middle of the sarovar (nectar tank). It makes me think of Lizzie Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, where upon seeing Pemberley for the first time, she remarked, "I’ve never seen a house so happily situated."

On some days it is hidden in the mist and barely visible, the lights are off and it really does look so, so small. And yet upon seeing it I feel as though someone is wrapping a warm shawl around my shoulders and placing their hand over my head to bless me. My heart fills up, I melt.

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The question of bowing does not even arise. It is not done consciously, because here there is no mind. My mind gets left behind, it does not make it down those steps leading towards the parkarma. Here there is another hand guiding my head to touch the marble. A hand of ancient wisdom that has journeyed through the ages, a hand that holds all my past lives in its palm. You have spent countless life forms longing for this chance, it says to me. Bow.

Tau May Aiyaa, Sharni Aiyaa, Bharosay Aiyaa, Kirpa Aiyaa.
To You I have come, in Your sanctuary I have come, with faith in You I have come, for Your grace I have come.

It never seizes to amaze me how many people come at this hour to wash the marble. It does not seem unnatural to them, to rise at what we would call ‘the middle of the night’, to give up the warmth of their beds in return for the cold water of the sarovar.

And what is so special about this marble?

Countless have bowed before me. Countless bow with me. Countless will bow after me, after I leave Amritsar, after I leave this world.

They come with their hopes, their prayers, their pleas, their thanks, their confessions, their salutations. They ask for success, for love, for compassion, for kindness, for mercy, for a blessing. They ask that they not be forgotten in the vast sea of Creation.

This marble has heard more prayers than I can ever imagine. It seems silent, still, solid. Yet it is not. It is not silent: all day long it listens to the voices of souls coming its way and whispers comfort into their ears. It is not still: it is moved, time and time again, by the sorrow, gratitude, regret, and praise these voices offer. It is not solid: the tears of joy and pain that have fallen onto its surface have seeped into it and made it gentle.

To let my forehead touch this blessed marble is not only to let my own soul speak to the Guru, but also to listen to what these souls have said, and to hear what the Guru has said to them.

With that in mind, how can I remain unmoved?

Seva here works as a crescendo. We move slowly, symbolically, towards the Dukh Bhanjani Beri, the Tree that Dispels Pain. Our fate we cannot change, but as we go along, washing that marble, touching that marble, we are rewriting our destiny. Our slate is being cleared, our karma is being cleansed with every step we take.

We end at the location that Guru Ram Das sat at during the construction of the sarovar, where the sangat gathered and sang the name of the One. I like to step back and try to see what he saw, to understand his vision for this place. Can he have known how this image would become woven into the hearts and minds of thousands, that this place will have an unreal and unexplainable pull on so many? For that is the word to describe it – unexplainable. I cannot tell you why it affects me the way it does. It just does. The connection is so deep that I have not dived that far inside myself to discover the cause of this feeling.

After seva I walk along the parkarma, towards the spot where Baba Deep Singh laid down his head after it was separated from his body 5 miles away, while fighting the armies of Ahmed Shah Abdali, who had attacked Amritsar. There is a photo of Baba Deep Singh; he is standing as tall as ever, a bloodied sword in one hand, his head on the other. Throughout the trips I made to Amritsar over the years, I only saw it as a spot with a historical significance, nothing more.

Tsk tsk, Hari Kiren, you have so much to learn.

We were at breakfast one day, with our dear friend Sada Anand, and she told us that just recently she’d had an epiphany about the significance of that spot. History aside, this message is spiritual.

Here Baba Deep Singh reminds us: Beta, leave your head behind. It has no place on this journey. Proceed with your heart. That is the part that listens to your soul’s longing.

I proceed towards the Darbar Sahib. I walk on the physical, and spiritual, bridge that leads me to my Guru. I walk with a gait in my step and a content smile on my face. With every step, I am overwhelmed by the presence of God in me, and the ‘I’ disappears. The realisation that I am a Being of Light is never as strong as it is at this moment.

As it is still early, parkash has not been done, so I pay my respects to the throne and the sangat gathered there, and head upstairs.

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Upstairs. Amritsar is a rainbow and here lies the pot of gold, the handwritten copy of the Guru Granth Sahib. And this is the moment. Bow, Surrender, Tuhi, Only You.

My forehead, the ground, His touch, a blessing.

I leave the Darbar Sahib with some parshaad – this is my Guru insisting that I leave His home with a sweet taste in my mouth to remember the sweetness of my visit.

I sit on the parkarma to meditate and listen to Asa di Vaar. It does not matter if my eyes are open or closed, I can still hold the same picture within myself. Its reflection dances around with the morning light, carrying little golden rays to the ends of the sarovar. I like to think that this is the light of Guru Nanak, being carried to all the four corners of the world, through race, caste, gender and creed.

And then the tap on my shoulder. The signal that it’s time to go.

[photopress:DSC007161.jpg,full,alignright]On the way out we read the hukam for the day. All morning I have been talking. I have been saying this, asking that, thinking this, feeling that. This is the moment for me to be silent and to let Him speak to me. And because he takes the time, everyday, to talk to me, I know that I am loved.

Before we leave, there is time for one more bow.

One more chance to say: once again, thank you for this chance.

The next 22 ½ hours whiz past. Then I get to come back and bow again.

And I know what it means to be home.

with love, Hari Kiren

20 Responses to “Thoughts and Experiences at Harimandir Sahib”

  1. Sifar says:

    “My mind gets left behind, it does not make it down those steps leading towards the parkarma.”

    Beautiful, WOW… I can’t find words to express what you have said. Actually tere is no need to express anymore as this sentence of yours is explicit enough. If the mind goes with us, it will always put forth questions like why, how, when, who…. Not that there is anything wrong in being inqusitive, but it is better go blank and absorb what is to be gained….

    Baba Deep Singh jee’s Shaheedi fall’s Today i.e. Nov 13. Lucky that you were there to pay tributes.

  2. Gurinder says:

    I could feel deep love for Guruji and I wish I was as lucky as you are!!! You are very very fortunate not for just being at the Golden temple but also feeling True love and coming to a realization! And thats WAH, WAHEGuru!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Hari Singh says:

    That is absolutely beautiful. This is the nearest that words have got to describe the feeling when one has in the presence of Guru Ram Das. God bless you and may you continue to bring us darshan of the wonderful Guru.

  4. gurkipreet kaur says:

    no words! Thanks for takin me to this spritual experince!

  5. Guruka Singh says:

    Wahe Guru! So beautifully and delicately written. I bow by your side and let the light fill me. You have put words to what words cannot express. Thank you.

    …..G

  6. narinder singh says:

    waheguru this is first word comes in my body after reading such a nice explanation of guru ji’s golden temple . i visited amritsar hariandir sahib but never like this im sure gursikh like this bibi will give us right path to worship waheguru .

  7. Balbir Singh says:

    Very nice post!Tears came down my eyes while reading the post.Words cannot express it.

    har aap amulak hai mul n paaeiaa jaae ||

    The Lord Himself is priceless; His worth cannot be estimated.

    mul n paaeiaa jaae kisai vittahu rehae lok vilalaae ||

    His worth cannot be estimated, even though people have grown weary of trying.

    aisaa sathigur jae milai this no sir soupeeai vichahu aap jaae ||

    If you meet such a True Guru, offer your head to Him; your selfishness and conceit will be eradicated from within.

    jis dhaa jeeo this mil rehai har vasai man aae ||

    Your soul belongs to Him; remain united with Him, and the Lord will come to dwell in your mind.

    har aap amulak hai bhaag thinaa kae naanakaa jin har palai paae ||30||

    The Lord Himself is priceless; very fortunate are those, O Nanak, who attain to the Lord. ||30||

    Waheguru ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ki Fateh

  8. Ranjita says:

    Waheguru!!Truly an emotional and a spiriual experience merely reading your column,u really brought the Almighty closer..more closer to my heart…God Bless!

  9. @ Harkiren Kaur

    thnx a bunch for takin us thru such a beautiful spiritual journey of ur experiences…really appreciate how beautifully u pick up ur words to describe ur feelings…made me recollect my dayz of regular darshan of Harmandir Sahib….hope 2 hear lotttttzzz more frm ya soon :)

  10. Singh says:

    Harikiren’s description is so ecstatic, uplifting and wondrous. She is a beautiful and blessed soul.

  11. Davinder says:

    Thanks for taking me to Harimandir Sahib through your words. WOW!! I am blessed with your experience. How Guru knows what we need when we need it. Wahe Guru!!
    Thank you so much for sharing.

    Davinder

  12. Pritpal S. Gabhi says:

    Excellent. Very well written. Emotional. So vivid that it made me feel as if I am there. May WaheGuru bless you and do write more of your experience – perhaps a book w/lots of pictures.

  13. guru singh says:

    Sat Naam.May those feet which walk to Guru’s house always be blessed.Keep up! Guru Singh

  14. Avtar Kaur says:

    Thank you, Hari Kiren Kaur Ji, for sharing your uplifting thoughts. Reading your words was like taking a mini vacation to Harimandir Sahib.

    My daughter is there at Miri Piri. She is not with the seva group (too young) but reading your post gave me a peek into her world (I have never been to India). I am grateful to you for sharing this.

  15. Hari Kiren says:

    Satnam jio..

    thank you so much to all of you for your encouraging words…i merely held the pen, the rest was all the Guru.

    i am sharing my journey in amritsar with my friends and family via a short-term blog while i’m in amritsar… some of whats there you’ve already read on mrsikhnet, and i do post other thoughts too.

    http://www.harikirenkaur.blogspot.com

    with love,
    Hari Kiren

  16. Jasvir Singh says:

    Waheguru, thanks a lot for the scene you experience everyday, you are gifted one, souls like you will spread the light of guru to the whole world.
    Keep up,
    Gur fateh

  17. Raju says:

    Thnx soooo much for writing such a wonderfull words that touches the heart…

  18. amarjit says:

    Beautiful work of expression, thru the blessings of the Waheguru. U have talent for putting emotions into words, to connect the physical to the spirtual world. Thanx to the Guru, to have a sight of your excellent penship and experience, and almost equally inspiring are the 15 comments to your blog. Sat Nam.

  19. Kamal says:

    This article was beautifully written. Never have I heard of the Harmandir Sahib being described with such amazing metaphors. Simply beautiful.

  20. G.S.Guglani says:

    waheguru ji!your experience has encouraged me to share few moments which were spent in bliss when i was in my teens.A pass is issued to sevadars who do seva in bee hours inside sri darbar sahib between 12 to 2.30 a.m. My father who used to visit for this seva every first day of desi month(sangrand) took permission for myself also.After the inside marble floor is washed with milk the wiping of brass railings is done at times with brasso our hearts have already melted in humble submission to those spirtual souls who are also prsent at the hour to do service with us of this harimandir , i sat in outer periphery of harimandir with open sky above me and watery sroavar behind me remebering japuji pauri of So Dar.Leaving all ego behind it is darshan of that darbar of this pauri ‘so dar tera keha so ghar keha jit beh sarab samale’ which haunts me again and again whenever i sit in bliss or solitude.Thanks harikiran for reminding me taste of that nectar of that vela that hour spent at truly the place ‘ Harimandir’.