By Jasdeep Hari Bhajan Singh Khalsa (UK / Ghostbusters Wale)
The story of Summer Solstice is too beautiful and miraculous to ever truly capture in words. It is something which must be experienced in order to understand and appreciate the extent of its beauty. Ram Das Puri, which is the land used for Summer Solstice, is a centre of healing, clarity and truth situated about half an hour from the town of Española in New Mexico. It is a heavenly realm which God has put on Earth. Heaven is not on Cloud 9, it’s in Ram Das Puri!
Yogi Bhajan, the master of Kundalini Yoga and founder of the Summer Solstice Sadhana said, “Revolve your life around Summer and Winter Solstice and everything will be taken care of”. This could not be truer. Ram Das Puri has the potential to dissolve all a person’s worries and leave a person in a state of profound peace. Everything is perfectly organised and worked out there without needing to control anything. The entire play of the universe can be seen apparently at work there. Ram Das Puri has a profound healing energy which attracts the spiritually inclined from all the four corners of the Earth, people of all colours, cultures, religions and at all stages of their spiritual path. Both the land and the congregation there are blessed. Everyday something new and magical unfolds there, whether it is an amazing soul that you meet, or a profound realisation of your own soul. This has been my experience. I cannot glorify it enough with words, it must be experienced.
I wish to share with you a few of the many experiences I had there. When arriving in Albuquerque in New Mexico, me and my brother Onkardeep had planned to take a taxi straight to our booked hotel accommodation. The next day we were going to attend Gurubachan Singh Khalsa’s closing ceremony of a continuous reading of the Sikh Holy Scripture from beginning to end, for his son’s 21st and daughter’s 33rd birthday. Gurubachan has been Yogi Bhajan’s personal cook and confidant for over 30 years, and has pioneered the Lord of the Miracles tour in South America, where him and a team of volunteers teach Kundalini Yoga and mediation to the governments of entire countries. It is not an everyday experience to meet a person of such calibre.
We had pre-planned to get picked up by Gurubachan in the morning. However, our plan of arriving and going straight to our hotel soon changed. As soon as we got off our flight and entered arrivals, there unexpectedly in the distance we saw Gurubachan walking towards us, standing about 7 feet tall, dressed in brilliant white and with one rose in each hand. We met halfway and were absolutely stunned that he had come to pick us up. He welcomed us to the State of New Mexico and on behalf of all of the Western Sikh Dharma organisations and institutions, gave us a rose each and then took us to his car to relax whilst our baggage came through. We were both speechless. I knew then that this journey would be a unique one. It was almost like coming back home after many years. Everything felt so familiar, natural and homely. Gurubachan then asked us if we were hungry. I replied ‘It’s Ok, not to worry’. Gurubachan replied, ‘You didn’t answer my question’. We laughed and said ‘Yes, maybe a little’. Gurubachan then took us to the Frontiers restaurant and gave us real Mexican burritos, a drink of coke and a cinnamon roll with extra butter. We certainly were not hungry after that! This was the just the beginning of our experience of New Mexico and the beginning of understanding real hospitality.
A few days later we decided to go visit Yogi Bhajan’s ranch. That morning we did not have an exact schedule for our day. All we knew was what we wanted to do and everything else was left to the universe to work it out. A few days ago at Gurubachan’s house we were kindly invited by Yogi Bhajan’s wife, Bibiji Inderjit Kaur, to come to the ranch whatever time we wanted for breakfast, lunch, dinner or tea. Such is her hospitality. So, today we had decided to go visit, but firstly we wanted to enquire whether Bibiji was actually in. To our disappointment, everyone we asked said she was away! Defiantly, we decided to visit anyway.
Deva Singh, who we were staying with, kindly offered to give us a lift to the ranch. Once inside the ranch we explored a little. We saw beautiful inter-faith sculptures, ornaments and a number of little properties scattered across it. Then unexpectedly Siri Dyal Kaur, who we had met a few days before, came out of one of the properties. She told us that she has been trying to get in contact with us for a long time to invite us to go to a Chinese restaurant, but could not find any way to reach us. In fact, surprisingly, she was planning to go to the restaurant within the next few minutes! We were both in awe how the Universe had arranged the situation so that she could invite us to the restaurant and we of course agreed to go with her. At the same time, as we walked around the ranch, the white and coloured peacocks all spread their feathers as if to welcome us. This was beautiful to behold.
When we arrived at the restaurant, the first thing we noticed is a table of Sikh women dressed all in white and in beautifully tied turbans. From afar we shouted ‘Sat Nam!’ meaning ‘God’s Name is Truth’. Then we went up close and greeted the women with ‘Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji Ke Fateh’, a Sikh greeting meaning ‘In those whose hearts there is love for the Wondrous Lord, their victories are God’s victories’. We sat at a nearby table to order our food. Just then, I had a feeling that one of the women sitting at the other table was Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa!
Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa (http://ekongkaar.blogspot.
So without delay, I got up to speak to her, knowing that this was why God had brought us to this restaurant seemingly randomly. She recognised me, but did not remember from where. I familiarised her with my project and she gracefully agreed to help me with it, with a smile, love and understanding. Right then, I felt so humbled that the universe would give me this opportunity and realised how special Española really was. I was bursting with so much excitement that I had to try and contain it all! It was a profound feeling of higher purpose. However, little did I know that even this was just the beginning!
After our meal, Siri Dyal Kaur dropped us back at Yogi Bhajan’s ranch, and me and my brother continued to explore from where we left off before the restaurant interlude. And then the next miracle happened! Sadhana Singh, who we also met at Gurubachan’s house, randomly came out of one of the houses at the ranch as we approached. We were happy and surprised to see him, and asked him what he was doing here. He told us that he works for Bibiji. Me and my brother looked at each other in glee. We asked Sadhana whether Bibiji was in and he told us that she was! We were again in absolute amazement! Even though everyone had said Bibiji was not available, the universe had given us the opportunity to meet her again.
So we went inside and Bibiji greeted us, and gave us some tea and biscuits. We talked a little and took a few pictures with her. Bibiji had such a kindness and sincerity to her, just like a mother to her children. It was a blessing to be with her and to be where Yogi Bhajan once lived. There was an incredible warmth there and I was overwhelmed with the feeling that we were long lost sons which had come back home. Also, that evening Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa (http://www.mrsikhnet.com) had invited us to dinner at his house, and so after talking with Bibiji, Sadhana dropped us back at the SikhNet office. The timing had worked out perfectly without needing to influence anything. At Gurumustuk’s house we had the pleasure to meet his beautiful family and to eat such lovingly cooked food. This was the end of just one day in Española. The day was so perfect, profound and organised that it felt surreal like a fairytale. Only this was no fairytale, this was the reality of one day in Española.
The next day we headed up to Ram Das Puri, the site for Summer Solstice, which is 7000 feet up in the extraordinary Jemez Mountains. After getting there we noticed a hoard of people of all different cultures, colours and religions, it was a heart-warming sight! The first thing we did was to find a good spot to setup our tent. This was quite difficult in the blazing sun, but we managed. We soon realised that a hammer would be useful to wedge some pegs securely into the ground, and at that exact moment someone came into our half-done tent and provided us with a hammer. Next, after setting up our tent successfully, we began to pump our mattresses and realised we needed a better pump, at that moment someone offered us an electric pump. These “coincidences” continued day-by-day, and we soon came to a realisation about Ram Das Puri and life. Our thought waves were being manifested into reality, instantly. As soon as you think of someone, they walk past. As soon as you need something, somebody gives it to you in that moment. Time and space are in complete harmony. There is a perfect synchronicity. This left us in no doubt about the nature of reality, that you are what you think!
A final experience which I shall share is that of taking Sikh Baptism called Amrit, at Ram Das Puri, to become part of the Khalsa, the society of saint-soldiers started by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth master of the Sikhs. It was a transformational experience, and life has been very different since that day. The Amrit ceremony first began in the early hours before the rise of the Sun, the Amritveylah. First we began to chant mantras together outside in the open, whilst being called into the Gurdwara one-by-one to be questioned by the five beloved ones, the Panj Pyareh, of whether we were ready for this great blessing of the Guru’s immortal nectar, the Amrit.
Soon enough my time had come to enter the Gurdwara, and I stood outside the door with my hands folded and my eyes closed as everyone chanted the mantra ‘Vaheguru’. I could feel my heart beating and my heart-centre was vibrating with the love for the Guru. I knew my time had come. I had thought it would take me many lifetimes to receive such a blessing, but the Guru in his grace had given me everything I needed to become ready for this moment. My entire life had been planned for this moment.
I was then called in and asked to bow before the Sikh Holy Scripture, the Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The Panj Pyareh greeted me with ‘Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji Ke Fateh’. Together they had the presence of the tenth master of the Sikhs, of Guru Gobind Singh Ji himself, and they were most extravagantly dressed in royal navy blue robes of the Guru. They asked me a few questions and I responded in turn. Once they were satisfied they said ‘Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji Ke Fateh’ and I returned back outside to the chanting.
After each of us had been called in and questioned, then everyone was called into the Gurdwara for the main Amrit ceremony to begin. We each went up in turn before the Panj Pyareh to receive the Amrit, the immortal nectar, which is water with added sugar crystals prepared whilst reciting five verses of Divine song to infuse the vibrations of God within it.
First, the disciple bows before the Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and then each of the five beloved ones pour Amrit into their hands which they then drink, symbolising the experience of sweet bliss of the spiritual aspirant every moment. Amrit is then sprinkled into the eyes and hair of the disciple, symbolising the importance of seeing God in everyone and the opening of the tenth gate to merge with God. The Panj Pyareh then give the disciple the mantra ‘Vaheguru’ to recite, meaning ‘Wonderful God’. Finally, the disciple bows before the Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and greets everyone with ‘Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji Ke Fateh’. Each of us went through this process in turn.
My experience of this ceremony was very precious. As the Amrit was sprinkled into my eyes, I kept my focus at the Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and I felt that the Guru was closer to me, and me to the Guru. This was my formal commitment of giving my mind, body and soul to the Guru. It was my marriage to the Guru, a lifetime contract. At that moment, ‘I’ as an identity was no longer, and instead a new identity was grafted upon me. An identity infinitely more beautiful, perfect and radiant than ‘I’ could ever be. This was the miracle that Guru Gobind Singh Ji had left humanity with, that an ordinary human being could choose to let go of their own identity and accept a new identity of extraordinary royal radiance. However, it must be clarified that this was just the beginning of this journey, not the end. This was the start in realising how to be radiant, compassionate and graceful in every moment of life. I was no longer Jasdeep Singh Bhatia, but now Jasdeep Hari Bhajan Singh Khalsa. I now have the rest of my life to work out who I’ve become, and to grow into this new identity.
Out of all these experiences, the biggest lesson for me was how the universe takes care of everything, and one does not need to worry about anything. I learnt that as soon as I try and control, influence or cause something to happen, then life becomes complicated. Instead, by letting go of all doubts, worries and concerns, the universe steps in to help and everything is perfectly resolved. Even coming back to the United Kingdom, I have found that the same rules apply as Ram Das Puri, but it is just more difficult to let go of perceived problems in an environment of distractions, negative vibrations and stress. My continued challenge is therefore to remain in the elevated mindset that Ram Das Puri gave me by staying constant in my spiritual practice.
So now imagine that at Ram Das Puri experiences like mine happen constantly every day, and you shall get a glimpse of how profound the Summer Solstice experience really is. It was not big experiences that made New Mexico beautiful, it was the cumulative effect of lots of small beautiful moment-to-moment experiences. Also, it is not my intention to give people an expectation of Summer Solstice, because everyone’s experience of it shall be unique, but I do wish to inspire more people from all around the world to make the trip one summer to experience it for themselves. Each experience is just as life transforming as the next, and together these experiences can alter your destiny.
It is my heartfelt plea and prayer that every human being should experience Summer Solstice at least once in their lifetime so that the world may progress to a higher level of consciousness.
With love and blessings to all, Jasdeep Hari Bhajan Singh Khalsa.
Picture of Jasdeep Singh with his precious Summer Solstice "Golden Milk" (Special Turmeric Milk)
If you are thinking of coming to Summer Solstice or Espanola this Summer, also join the "Camp Miri Piri" event which is right before Summer Solstice! Not to be missed!