Sikhs of South America

Sikhs of South America

Going through my every day life there are times when I get caught up in this cycle and forget about the gifts that I have. No matter what our origins are it is normal to sometimes not recognize the beautiful things that we have in our life. 

Over 35 years ago my parents and many other westerners discovered the Sikh lifestyle and the teachings of the Gurus. Slowly over time more and more people from non-Punjabi backgrounds have found a love of the Guru and this beautiful lifestyle. I was born and raised a Sikh so have never known anything else, so, just like many of you whose families are from India, you have been raised as a Sikh and it is very normal.


Now that I am almost 35 years old, much of what I have learned on this path has become so integrated in my being that I sometimes forget about the early days. The early days when everything was so new for the many souls seeking to connect with the Guru. There was no road-map for them & everything was so new! There had never been many Sikhs of non-punjabi background, so there were great cultural/language barriers to take the teachings of Sikh Dharma and learn/practice them. It was a slow and steady evolution of learning and growing as new "seeds" germinating in the sun. I’m sure many mistakes were made, but everything was done with such innocence and love for the Guru and just became part of the evolution like a child growing up.

Looking back 35+ years and seeing where we are today I still see these seeds slowly growing and producing new seeds which are starting to grow elsewhere in the world. 

There are now small beautiful communities of Sikhs growing in various parts of the world. South America is one area that I always love to hear about. Every year a group of Sikhs travel on the Guru Ram Das Lord of Miracles Tour throughout South America to teach and inspire people. It is so inspiring seeing and hearing about these travels each year & as people from all different backgrounds get touched by the light of the Guru!

I have never been to South America but I love to read about the people there, hear stories from friends, and meet some of them when they come to Espanola. Americans can often be so blunt and callous, so it is nice when I get to meet people from different cultural backgrounds who are so sweet and kind.

When I meet and read about them it reminds me of the early days 40 years ago when my parent’s generation were just starting on this path. There is a deep innocence and longing to learn. They soak in everything and are so appreciative of this path and anything that is shared with them. Having grown up in this lifestyle it is inspiring for ME, as it is for many of you, to see people adopt the Sikh lifestyle and live it with such enthusiasm, love and dedication. It is also a reminder to me of the Gifts that I have been given and to not take them for granted.

There are many different countries in South America where pockets of Sikhs are growing, however the past few days I have been thinking about the Sikhs in Chile. When I was visiting my son in Amritsar I stayed at a friends house for a few days and got to hang out with 3 Sikhs from Chile & my USA friend. Everyone in the house was not only great people but all shared a love of Gurbani Kirtan and Music.  A bit part of there every day life was studying Gurbani Kirtan and playing music. The night I was leaving they had a "jam out session" singing shabads and various mantras from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Then recently I got a skype message from another new young Sikh from Chile who had just created a beautiful CD called Akash. I started to realize that many of the Chilean Sikhs were very into Music. In fact pretty much all the music that I had which was of  Spanish Language background was produced by "Sikhers" from Chile.

There was "Mahaband" who were a few of the people I hung out with in Amritsar and gave me a few of their live recordings from morning Sadhana. Then there is Sat Shabad Singh who had produced two beautiful CDs already. And recently I started listening to new music by 26 year old Satya Amrit Singh.

Over the past few days I have been listening to the AKASH CD by Satya Amrit Singh and enjoying it a lot. As I listen to it thinking of these beautiful seeds growing in South America. Satya Amrit Singh was one of a group of others who took Sikh vows, which for many is like a first step to commit to living the Sikh lifestyle. For most of us we are born into the lifestyle, but for those who are new to Sikhi it is a conscious act of commitment to the Guru.

With so much hate, anger, politics, judgment and loss of Sikh values within the Sikh community I often get questions from Sikhs who just can’t believe that other people would be interested in "converting" to the Sikh religion. I suppose for some of those people living as a Sikh has become a cultural/ritualistic thing which doesn’t have much meaning. So WHY would someone else be interested in Sikhi?? Obviously they are missing the "juice" that these other "Sikhers" are experiencing.

So often Sikhs get so stuck on rules, regulations and intellectualism, and I think miss the whole spirit of being a Sikh. For me the simplicity, innocence, love and  acceptance are key things which are often lacking by many Sikhs. When we start dividing ourselves and not seeing the other person as God or a mirror of yourself (God) then we become stuck in this cycle and loose the Pyar/Love in the purest sense.

When I imagine the Gurus I invision such humility, love, acceptance, courage, non-reactiveness, joy, happiness and oneness in their meditative beings! In my every day life I try to remember the example of the Gurus and to live in their example. Seeing these beautiful souls growing in South America and other places reminds me of this "root", this beginning, this innocence. It is a reminder of that beginning of what the Gurus started hundreds of years ago. It is a reminder of how distracted we can all get, in the emotions and reactiveness of every day life. All these dramas & situations with people & situations are just maya. They are just distractions which are tests for us to remember why we are on this earth.

As you listen to the music below & looks at the pictures I hope the inspiration you get stays with you. Keep up with your spiritual practice as a Sikh and keep that door in your heart open, so that rather then judge or criticize others, you focus on yourself and become a shining light for others to grow from.

Below is a selection of some music by three South American Musicans: Satya Amrit Khalsa , Sat Shabad Singh and "Mahaband". Click on the "show playlist" in the upper left corner of the player to see the track details and jump around

Below are some pictures taken by many different people which  I downloaded from some previous SikhNet news stories as well as some friends facebook photos.

20 Responses to “Sikhs of South America”

  1. Guri Singh says:

    Thanks for Sharing. This is very informative. I guess it is time to go to Chile.

  2. Levtar Kaur says:

    Almost made it this year for the festival… Sure will be there next year with the new member of our family!
    Wahe Guru!!!

  3. @daljeet1960 says:

    It is a very bold but novel idea to spread Sikhism in foreign lands though here in India especially the origin point

  4. It is a very bold and novel idea to spread Sikhism in foreign lands; though here in India especially at the origin point of Sikhism especially Punjab the scene is very scary. Lot of wine shops, guys with trimmed beard and worst & snobbish depiction of religious signs.
    Waheguru Bless you for your efforts.

  5. Raman says:

    Very inspirational article and beautiful music..I am in the same boat as dass, although I was raised as a sikh I have just begun to realize the gurus teachings and they are fascinating

  6. I have made numerous trips through South America in last five years, primarily with idea with spreading the message and lifestyle of the Guru. It is a very different experience sharing these teachings in South America, let's say in US or Europe. In general (and of course this are oversimplifications and stereotypes), the folks "down there" really do come more from the heart and resonate very much with the sweetness and universality of the Guru's word. On the other hand, I would say that the discipline and commitment side of things are a little bit more of a challenge. For example, there seems to be more of an ambivalence towards marriage and a lack of understanding why this would be an integral part of our lifestyle. However, all in all, I do feel that the future of the Dharma may well be the strongest in South America. The people are very open, it seems to be a time of great social change there and on some level, intuitively, it just feels that this is where it's really going to happen. I am very inspired by trips down there and I would end by saying that those of us living in some other parts of the world could learn quite a bit by the natural devotion shown by these lovely souls; very, very respectful and even reverential to both the teacher and the teachings. Again, for me, it has been a very humbling experience being in the company of these future world leaders.

    • J.J.K.K says:

      I AM planning to go to Bolivia in march 2011 and Chile also ;
      Would you happen to know a site or an address for the Chile centers;(I already made contact with Bolivian sikhs)
      I did meet a group in Amritsar last winter or the winter before; but never thought of asking their address;the idea of south america had not gestated yet!
      ANY connections ,Please let me know
      thank you ;
      in grace ;
      Jiwan jot kaur khalsa

  7. Wonderful post!!!!! I think it shows that Sikhism is not restricted to Punjab only. May Nanak's simple three rules reach to the world through his disciples who come from all nationalities.

    1. Naam Japna: Chanting the Holy Name and thus remembering God at all times (ceaseless devotion to God)
    2. Kirat Karō: Earning/making a living honestly, without exploitation or fraud
    3. Vaṇḍ Chakkō: Sharing with others, helping those with less who are in need

  8. Dave says:

    MUCH MUCH true to the Universe then over building Gurdwaras, cause thats all many communities do put all the Sangats contributions into Building buliding! No Sikh Schools for the High Schoolers. But the Khalsa they make me happy cause they do what the rest fail to do -the True seva Suchi Seva thus Sat Naam!

  9. Dave says:

    OOOOOH!!!! Please Gurmustuk Singh Khalsa Ji, Please upload single link downloads of AVI format Videos of things like the above South America Sikhs video which I think is in FLV format like You Tube. Please do not post a FLV converted to AVI as conversion deteriorates the quality and makes the file longer. Ofcourse for those who do not have AVI from original sourse, then always post thaat they are converted from X to Y format.

  10. Dave says:

    Dear Gurmustuk ji,

    Did you know that AVI files can be burnt to a DVD or RW+DVD as a data file and played directly on a DVD player with Divix(avi) built in, many DVD players do. The WMV format is not.

  11. JP Singh says:

    hey …its me in the video…….I live in Chile from 10 years….WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA , WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH….

    • J.J.K.K says:

      SAT NAM,
      I plan to come to Chile in march 2011
      I am french but lives in the u.s
      Would you be able to give me address of centers overthere?
      thank you
      jiwan jot kaur khalsa.

  12. Ravi Taj Kaur says:

    Querido Gurmustuk ji,

    Que gratificante de ver la sangats en America del Sur muy agradecida por sus fotos i comentarios mil gracias

  13. Sadhu Singh Sekhon says:

    Waheguru ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh

    Wonderful! May Almighty Waheguru all Sikhs in SA. We are Sikhs from India working in a private limited company. we want to take up large farm land tracts in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, if there is any Gur Sikh who could help us in the acquisition of land in these country, it would go a long way in solving our problem of searching and language. my company mil id is gcabti at g mail dot com.

    S.S Sekhon

  14. Sadhu SIngh Sekhon says:

    I want mail ids and telephone numbers of South American Sikhs. If anybody knows, please pass it on to me.

    S.S Sekhon

  15. BALDEV SINGH says:


  16. A new book published by Manohar Books, New Delhi with title "SIKHS IN LATIN AMERICA -TRAVELS AMONG THE SIKH DIASPORA" will be of interest to you for review.
    Swarn Singh Kahlon, Chandigarh, India