Falling in Love Again: Guru Nanak, Japji Sahib and our Truly Precious Global Sangat

by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa

February was a rough month for me. Somewhere around Feb. 8th, I started to feel feverish and dizzy. And with this flu that’s been going around, I ended up in bed for almost three weeks. Temperature reaching 102 degrees, hours and hours re-reading every Harry Potter book, too tired to do anything more than drink Emergency-C, take my Chinese herbs and watch the sun rise and set through my bedroom window.

I’ve got a 5 karma, in the parlance of yogic numerology. It means that I process a lot through the physical body. I’d like to say that those weeks in bed were because of the flu. But the flu was only part of it. The real reason my body had such a hard time fighting off that little virus was because of my heart. Because of this grief that I just can’t seem to shake.

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12 Responses to “Falling in Love Again: Guru Nanak, Japji Sahib and our Truly Precious Global Sangat”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dear Ek Ong Kar Kaur,

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

    Your sincerity, devotion and commitment to the Sikh way of life is elevating. Your writings are deep, philosophical and empowering. The sense of service and purpose you bring to your writings is earnestly appreciated and admired.

    I often run into Sikhs who don’t view Sri Singh Sahib as positively as you do – but then this is just a difference of opinion.

    As you know – all Americans don’t hate George W Bush equally nor do they love Martha Stewart in equal measure. Our biases and opinions are determined to a large extent by our experiences and the level of information available to us. As humans all we can do is – strive to be honest and objective.

    Please keep up the good work. Your divine nature, love for the Sangat and personal sacrifices will definitely be honored in Guru Sahib’s court.


  2. SikhsRus says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience and writing it so beautifully. I may be wrong, but the way I see it from your writing, you may have found the purpose of your life that you had been searching all of your life by translation of Japji Sahib and inspiring and teaching others thru courses, writing and other media. Does the book, “Song of the Soul” contain Jap Ji sahib translation and stories of Siri Singh Sahib that you tell in your course. A non-Sikh relative of mine had asked me about teachings of Sikh Gurus and I just think the book may be a good gift to give.

  3. SikhsRus says:

    Also, Gurumustuk Singh Ji, I love the picture of Holla Mahalla Nihangs on horses on the “Sikhnet site”. I wish some talented Sikh artist (may be even yourself if time premits” would do a painting of it and mass produce some prints that can be sold or even used in calendars for sale. Just a thought.

  4. Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh.

    Manjit Singh ji – the book does contain the translation of Japji Sahib, though not too many stories of the Siri Singh Sahib. I hope and pray that it may be a good book for your friend who would like to learn more about the Sikh Gurus.

    Let me know if there’s any other way I can be of service.


    Ek Ong Kaar Kaur

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sikhrus ji,

    I’ve read almost all the write-ups of Ek Ong Kar Kaur ji and Gurumustak ji on the net. They write very well and have a lot of passion. They make an excellent resource material especially for non-Sikhs.

    However, for the sake of honesty – I must confess with all due respect, the strong unequivocal reservations that surface from time to time.

    I’m sure you know about the Holy
    Trinity of – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in Christianity.

    After reading 3HO websites and Ek Ong Kar Kaur’s writings – a non-Sikh may wrongly carry the impression that Sikhs too have a Holy Trinity – of – the God/Gurus, the Sri Singh Sahib and the Holy Yoga.

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind about their sincerity and devotion as exemplary Sikhs – the false impression is entirely inadvertant.

  6. SikhsRus says:

    Ek Onkar Kaur – Thanks!
    Annonymous – Thanks! I would beleive you more if you weren’t annonymous and I would know where my information is coming from.

  7. Dear Anon,

    THIS non-Sikh has never gotten the impression that there is a holy trinity in Sikhism that includes Yogi Bhajan and Kundalini yoga. In my experience the 3HO people are very clear in their distinctions among the three.

    I understand what you are saying — that SOME people may get that impression — but I just want to say that NOT everyone does.

    I never met Yogi Bhajan. I don’t do alot of kundalini yoga. I never feel pressured by others to embrace either. I do chant the Sikh banis in Gurmukhi every day and read from the Guru whenever I can. People follow the path that resonates in their hearts.

    I love to read Ek Ong Kaar Kaur’s writings because they come from HER heart. Because they are so honest and true, and uplifting and inspiring all at the same time. Please keep writing, Ji, and posting here. We tune in from all over the world!

  8. Ajai Singh says:

    Ek Ong Kar Kaur,

    Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

    Thank you for the beutiful writings. It is the Japji Sahib and the place it has taken in my heart and life that has cause me to embrace the Guru’s teachings and Sikhism. Your translation is most beautiful rendering of the Japji Sahib into english I have seen and is the one I recommend to friends. I was a classics major in college and am compling my own annotated translation based on the Khalsa Consensus Transaltion and your writings have a very special place in that work. Thank you for this wonderful service you have given us all.

    Would you ever consider coming up to the cold land of Minnesota and teaching your course? While we can’t promise warm weather, I can asuure you that you would receive a warm and greatful welcome for our growing community.

    Sat Nam,

    Ajai Singh

  9. Anonymous says:

    Dear zydeco scorpio,

    Please don’t get me wrong. I’m very fond of Gurmustak ji and Ek Ong Kar Kaur ji.

    Ek Ong Kar ji wrote “Blessed is the Dirt” a couple of years ago which I’ve read again and again to grasp the full import of what she is trying to convey. In my opinion that is the best piece she has ever written. Presumably, other readers have their own favorite topics. Perhaps, I should post it on this forum for the benefit of those who have not read it yet.

    Being fond of someone doesn’t mean
    that we support them blindly and don’t make them aware of the potential pitfalls.

    When we don’t tell our friends where we disagree with them and the reason for our disagreement – we are putting ourselves in a position of being accomplices for unsound policies and wrong decision making.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Blessed Is The Dirt
    By Ek Ong Kaar Kaur

    Musings on Marble Floors

    It’s become part of my routine sadhana, now. Washing the marble floors on Sunday mornings at the Hacienda de Guru Ram Das ashram, Espanola, in the state of New Mexico, USA. The highlight of my week, I call it. The funny thing is – each time I go, there’s another lesson to learn – another message from the Guru revealed through the ordinary, the mundane.

    A few Sundays ago, for instance, a woman arrived at our Gurdwara at 3 am. She wore a pink top, black flare pants and a stylish pink scarf tied around her head. For anonymity’s sake, I’ll call her Marge.

    Marge had come to Santa Fe for one of those long spiritual weekends this part of the country is famous for. New Mexico doesn’t have much industry. But it has a breath-taking beauty and quiet wisdom that makes it a land of deep spiritual connection and profound healing. Marge had heard about our “temple” during her spiritual workshop. “Two different people told me about it,” she said. “They told me about how you wash the floors early in the morning. So I thought I’d come.”

    And this is what happens:

    She has a nice smile and willing hands. We give her a hug, welcome her and after reciting Japji (during which she sits and quietly listens), we hand her the vacuum cleaner and she starts with the rugs.

    The morning seva goes by slowly. Some of the regular sevadars are out of town this week, so we are, all of us, taking extra time to learn to perform a task we’ve never done before. In the months since I’ve started coming to this beautiful morning seva, I have learned a tremendous amount about how to take care of the Gurdwara and the Guru: how to dress the Manji Sahib with Roomalas; the proper way to put the Guru in Sukhasan; how to treat the swords with respect. Washing the floors is the play around which an entire schooling happens. There’s so much wisdom about how to care for and protect the Guru captured in the simplest acts. And that wisdom is handed down practically, simply and lovingly by the head sevadars who have waited their whole life to be able to do this. Especially the women – Sikhs of the Guru – who have visited the Golden Temple, but never had the opportunity to serve the Guru this way.

    After Marge vacuums the rugs, she helps dust the marble floors. A dozen of us with feather brooms brush the dirt towards the center, and as the dust pile gathers, the head sevadar brings out a box of small plastic baggies. We count the number of people and gather the dust into an equal number of baggies, handing them out to everyone.

    I bring a little baggie with a little bit of dust over to Marge. “This is for you to take home if you like.” She looks at the gift skeptically, then looks back at me. Resisting a smile, she struggles between laughing and being polite. The way a visitor to a foreign country is polite when offered something unusual.

    “Is there some…significance to this…that I would want to take it with me?” she asks with a slight anthropologist’s tone to her voice. Doing her best to understand the customs of the natives.

    It’s an odd moment. She and I are from similar backgrounds. We’ve grown up in the same country. And by her looks, I would say we’re about the same age. But standing there in my turban, no make-up, wearing a very nice dress that’s about to get soaked from washing the floors, holding a little bag in my hand with…well…let’s face it…a spoonful of dirt in it…all of a sudden, she and I are standing on two different planets. I feel this enormous gulf between us and wonder how to bridge it.

    “Yes, it does have a significance,” I say, smiling. As if what I’m about to say next is the most obvious thing in the world. “It’s the dust of the saints. People come into the Gurdwara all week long and meditate and it’s their dust that we’re sweeping up. It has the vibration of their prayers in it. So it’s something blessed, it’s something special.”

    I’m not making any sense to her. I can see it in her eyes, and for a moment, I look at that bag the way she is seeing it. There’s some dirt, a staple, a hairball, a little bit of stray plaster from the remodeling we’re doing inside of our Gurdwara offices. Not the most visually appealing gift in the world. It certainly doesn’t look sacred.

    But then I look at it with my eyes and wonder how I can possibly explain to her what I see. Because I don’t see the dirt and the staple and the plaster. I see all the people who have woken up at 3:30 am this week and brought themselves to this place, sat on these floors and worked on themselves. Sadhana is not a beautiful thing. It’s the time of day when you take an honest look at yourself, at your negativity, at your bad habits, at your painful past – and your soul decides to transform the negativity into positivity, the bad habits into commitments to do it different next time, the painful past into gratitude for the opportunity to heal from it.

    Guru Nanak says it in Japji – that when you meditate on the Naam, all the dirt from the subconscious comes up and the power of sadhana of a daily discipline is the power to clean that dirt once and for all. “Bhareeai mat paapaa kai sang, oh dhopia naavai kai rang.”

    And yes – it is dirt. It is unpleasant. And isn’t that the irony of it, the joy of it? That somehow, in community, as the bonds of love and respect grow and deepen, that love changes what you see. You stop seeing all the flaws, all the faults in others. And you start to see how hard everyone works on themselves to keep up, to keep going, to connect with Spirit in an age where Spirit can hardly be found at all. So the dirt is no longer something repulsive or ordinary. It is something beloved. Beloved that, no matter how many times we wash these floors, there will always be more dirt tomorrow. And no matter how many times we meditate in the Amrit Veyla, there will be something in our subconscious to clean tomorrow. And in that heaven and earth connection is a profound lesson that what is most valuable in human life is a loving discipline to continually purify yourself, and being with people who practice that discipline, who can support you in practicing it, yourself.

    Guru Nanak knew it, ever longing for the blessing of the dust of the saint’s feet.

    What can I say to her? How can I show her my world in a grain of sand?

    “Take it with you and sprinkle it in your garden,” I tell her. “It will bless your land.”

    She smiles then, with warmth and amusement. She’s not sure whether or not to believe me. But I know the secret part of her that longs for genuine ritual and connection to the Divine will go back to her home and one warm spring day, when no one is paying attention, she will take that dust in her fingers and sprinkle it on her land – awkward, feeling a little ridiculous, yet smiling from the memory of where and when she got it. And for a moment, she will do something that the culture I came from and the culture she still lives in would never allow.

    She’ll bless herself and bless the earth.

    Now, I know that the dust of the saints’ feet is something magic and I know, in that moment, something unexpected and surprising will begin in her life. As it once began in mine.

    We’ll see what Guru brings.

  11. kiran says:

    dear Panji Ek Ong Kaar Kaur,

    juat wanted to let you know that after reading “Musings on Marble Floors” it had made me look and think about dust in another light. No one at my local guru ghar thinks like that and the dust certainly never gets shared out except to the big metal dust bins outside….

    thank you for the enlightenment

    lots of pyar


    ps…it was 4* in London today, very cold and windy today xx

  12. Anonymous says:


    When someone is deep and philosophical – there are allegories, there is mysticism
    and there are several layers of meanings in their writings. So watch out – when Ek Ong Kar Kaur talks about dirt – she may be talking about a whole lot of other things as well.

    Dirt is not just a physical entity
    – that people sweep away from Sangat’s shoes in the Gurdwara – it’s much more than that on a metaphysical plane. That is why there is so much emphasis on dirt/dust in Gurbani.