Thursday, 31 January 2008

Happy Gurpurab - Birth Of Guru Har Rai Ji


Dhan Guru Har Rai Ji
The 31st January marks the birth date of the 7th Guru, Guru Har Rai Ji. Guru Har Rai was a simple man of God who lived a highly simple life and valued simplicity and devotion amongst the followers of his creed. Lets take a glance into some of the incidents during Guru Ji's life:

Baba Har Rai and the trampled rose

Many thanks to Sikh Sangat for this Sakhi....

Satguru Sri Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji Maharaj, maintained an excellent garden with rare medicinal herbs planted in it. He also had a rare passion for collecting birds and animals that could be tamed and trained. Baba Har Rai Sahib Ji was having his morning stroll in the garden one day, he was reciting Waheguru with each breath he took. Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji was also walking in the garden and was coming from the opposite direction to the one Baba Har Rai Sahib Ji was walking on. Seeing a beautiful flower on the ground, Guru Sahib, bent down and picked it up.

He then asked, 'Who plucked this lovely rose and left it to be tampled on the ground?"

"It was my fault dear grandfather" said Baba Har Rai Sahib Ji.
"My robes got entangled in the plant, and while loosening it, the flower fell on the ground. I should have picked up the flower, I am really sorry grandfather."

"Today", said Satguru Ji, "your robes have caused injury to this tender and beautiful plant out of carelessness, and left it to be trampled under people's feet; someday your paraphernalia, if not kept under restraint and control, may cause injury to innocent people, and in your heedlesness leave them to their fate. Yours Oh dear Grandson are not the robes of coercive authority which can afford to disregard the feelings of others, particulary those who suffer and live silently. Yours are the robes of a dervish, a holy saint, which must shed love, light, compassion, not only on human beings, but even on animals and plants. The more tender and weak a creature of Akaal Purakh, the more love, sympathy and compassion he deserves."

Baba Har Rai Sahib Ji fell at the feet of his beloved Guru and grandfather and sought his forgiveness.

Mehma Prakash: Sarup Singh Bhalla pg 533

Baba Har Rai Sahib Ji promised his grandfather, that he would in the future never show the slightest heedlessness in his responsibilites towards man, animals and plants. Restraint and self control boundless compassion and charity, were reflected in all his actions and dealings with others throught Baba Har Rai Sahib Jis life.

From that day on he would hold the long gown over his right arm. When he became Guru Har Rai jee the Sikhs said you don’t look good holding your gown, let it go as you are the Guru now.

Guru Har Rai jee said, “O Guru Nanak’s Sikhs, all of my life I’ve held it like this because it was my Guru’s Command. If I disobey my Guru by letting go of it, I’ll no longer be a Sikh. Do you want me to spend the rest of my life in hell!”

Understanding Scriptures

Once his Sikhs approached Guru Har Rai and asked if it was any use reciting the hymns without understanding the text. The Guru was aware that though the Sikh scriptures were in the language of the people, a large number of the Sikhs recited the hymns without understanding their meaning fully. But there was no oubting their devotion to the holy word. It so happened that they were then apssing through the outskirts of a village. The Guru showed his Sikhs pieces of a broken pot that was used for storing butter. And now lying in the sun the little butter that had stuck to the potsherds had started to melt. Guru Ji said: "It's good if one reads the scriptures with understanding It is like holding butter, but if that is not possible, it's not without virtue reading scripturewith devotion; some of it will certainly stick and when the warmth of understanding is applied to it at any time, it will surely do good".

The Simple Meal

One day, while passing through a village, Guru Ji knocked at a door. It was the house of a poor widow. The moment the door opened, the womanwas beside herself with joy. She rushed into the house and brought for Guru Ji the food she had prepared. Guru Ji partook of her humble meal seated on horseback, not even washing his hands, which he always did before he took his meals.
The next day the Guru's followers had taken with them plenty of food in case the Guru needed to eat during the chase. But the Guru did not eat anything whilst they were in the jungle. Returning home, when his Sikhs asked the Guru about his eating at a poor widow's house uninvited, Guru Ji told them that rather thenbeing uninvited he was awaited in the poor hut most anxiously. All those days the old lady would prepare her simple meal and start praying for a glimpse of the Guru. She was too old to make a journey to the Guru's place. Day after day she continued to prepare a meal for her Guru and wait for him. She never lost faith. She knew her Guru would never let her down. At last her prayers were answered. The next time they happened to pass through the village the Sikhs had the truth of what their Guru Ji had told them verified. The poor old woman told them how she laboured hard and with her earnings prepared simple fare and longed to entertain the Guru and how he had heard her prayers and come to her place to bless her.

Clinging to the Guru's Feet

Bhai Gonda, a devoted Sikh, was asked by Guru Ji to proceed to Kabul for the spiritual needs of the Guru's Sikhs residing in that far-off place. It was not without risk, making the arduous journey and living amongst aliens, but Bhai Gonda left for Kabul the moment he heard Guru Ji's orders. Once, while saying his prayers in Kabul, Gonda clung to the Guru's feet in his imagination. He held the Guru's feet in deep devotion all the while he was reciting his prayers. It so happened that the Guruat that particular hour was sitting on his throne. The Sikhs marked that the Guru had been sitting in a particular posture with both his feet resting on each other for quite some time. It was time for his meal and, even then, he was sitting in that peculiar posture. The meal was announced once, twice, thrice, but he neither moved from his seat not uttered a word. At last, after about an hour, he got up and expressed his regret at having kept his Sikhswaiting. "It was Bhai Gonda in Kabul, he had both my feet and would not leave them. It is only after he completed his prayers that he released them and i could move away" Guru Ji told his Sikhs. The Sikhs were amazed to hear it. The next time Bhai Gonda came to pay his homage to the Guru, the Sikhs had the incident verified and found that every word was true.

Guru Har rai and baba Ram Rai:

Emperor Aurangzeb summoned Guru Har Rai jee to Delhi. Guru Har Rai jee refused to go near that tyrant, but he called together the respected Sikhs and said one of you will go to answer his questions. The Sikh that goes to Delhi will have Guru Nanak himself on his tongue to answer the Aurangzeb’s questions. Baba Ram Rai, the Guru’s oldest son, volunteered.

Guru Har Rai jee said, “Son, it requires the greatest responsibility in order to represent Guru Nanak Dev jee.”
It is said that a tigress’s milk can only be put into a silver bowl. If it is put into a gold bowl the
milk will go sour.

Baba Ram Rai jee said, “I’ll go.”

He left the town of Kiratpur sitting in a pallaquin being carried on the shoulders of 4 Sikhs. Baba Ram Rai got out and told the 4 Sikhs carrying it to step back. Ram Rai wanted to test if he really had Guru Nanak jee’s power on his tongue.

Today people change history to suit themselves because they lack faith that our Guru has infinite powers.

Baba Ram Rai said, “Get up and go to Delhi.”

The Pallaquin raised itself of the ground and flew to Delhi. It’s not for nothing that we say “Waheguru Nam Jehaj ha…The Name Waheguru is the Ship that feries us across.”

When Aurangzeb saw the flying Pallaquin he absolutely loved it. As all emperors, he loved to be entertained, especially with miracles. He asked Baba Ram Rai to show him more miracles. Baba Ram Rai went to a wall and sat on it. He said, “Go!” It ran like a horse around Delhi. Baba Ram Rai showed hundreds of miracles.

Aurangzeb asked Baba Ram Rai, ‘I have heard that your Guru Nanak Dev jee turned the Kabha, or sacred stone, around at Mecca, how can it be?’

Baba Ram Rai saw a mosque nearby and pointed his finger towards it. He lifted the mosque, turned it in the air while pointing at it and put it down by lowering his arm. He said that’s how easy it was for Guru Nanak jee to turn Mecca.

Now Aurangzeb wanted to ask questions about God’s Word - Gurbanee.

Guru jee has taught us that the one who doesn’t give the greatest respect to Gurbanee is not a Sikh at all. Nowadays we leave Gutkas, or prayer books, lying around.

Once, a Sikh was holding a Gutka reciting the prayers when Guru Hargobind Sahib jee came walking nearby, he had water in his eyes.

The Sikh asked, “Guru jee, why are your eyes watering?”

Guru Hargobind jee said, “O foolish one, you haven’t covered the Gutka with cloth and the dirt that’s falling on it, I feel in my eyes!”

This is how much our Gurus respected Gurbanee.

Baba Ram Rai jee had taken some Gutkas with him, there were to be treated respectfully so had been left on the best chair. Aurangzeb came and sat on the chair pushing the Gutkas aside.

Baba Ram Rai said, “Aurangzeb, what’s all this! God’s Word has to be respected.”

Aurangzeb said, “Accept my apologies someone must have accidentally put them here.”

Then Aurangzeb asked Baba Ram Rai, “I’ve heard that in Asa-Dee-Var it is written. “Mit-ee Musalman ke pareh pay kuma-i. O Baba Ram Rai you have Guru Nanak Dev jee’s power on your tongue, so tell me what the meaning is. To me it sounds like it says even a Muslim buried in the earth screams.”

Baba Ram Rai said, “O No Great King, instead of Musal-man it should say Beh-man, meaning the unbelievers scream when buried in the earth, not Muslims.”

Nowadays, some people want to remove a whole page, a whole limb of our Guru Granth Sahib jee - Baba Ram Rai just changed one word and look at the punishment that was given to him. When he returned to the town of Kiratpur, he sent 2 Sikhs ahead of him to tell his Guru-Father he had returned. Guru Har Rai jee loved his son Baba Ram Rai, but because he changed even one word of Gurbanee he was rejected.

Guru Har Rai jee said to the 2 Sikhs, “Ram Rai changed a word of Gurbanee and now he wants my holy vision or Darshan, tell him - no way! Tell him he can’t bow to my feet.”

Guru jee said this to his own son! The Sikhs told Ram Rai that he wouldn’t be accepted at the Guru’s feet. Ram Rai asked the Sikhs to find out where he would be accepted if not at the Guru’s feet. The Sikhs returned and asked Guru Har Rai jee where Ram Rai would be accepted, Guru jee replied, “Tell him to walk in the direction he is facing - he’s not welcome here.”

The Guru that could not hurt a flower without feeling remorse, was hurt by what his Son had done. By changing a line in Gurbani, Baba Ram Rai was never to see his father again. That is how much love our Guru's had for Gurbani, we all need to aspire to be able to value Gurbani as much as our Gurus did.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Accepting God's Will (bhaana)


Last week i was at my friends house doing avsoas (paying condolences for a death in his family).
It's very difficult to know how to handle such situations, i just didn't know what to say to make my friend feel any better.

whilst we were sitting there, an old wise man walked in, he was amritdhari, and naturally the conversation went on to accepting the will of God (bhaana manno) etc. The man went onto explain, that it very easy to say "bhaana manno", but very difficult to accept this. It's particularly easy for you to say it to someone else when they go through such a phase, but when it happens to you, then its a different story.

He went onto explain that Sikhs in the past questioned Shri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji whether there existed such a person who accepted everything (good or bad) as the will of God, and would remain unaffected by these events. Shri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji advised his Sikhs that there is such a person, his name is Bhai Bhikari. Guru Ji gave his Sikhs the address of Bhai Bhikhari, and told them to pay him a visit and see with their own eyes, how this Sikh accepts Gods will.

Unfortunately, as people were coming in and out of the room, the baba ji was unable to continue his Sakhi. It did leave me intrigued nevertheless, and so i did some digging up and found the Sakhi below:

Now we will take an illustration to make the point more explicit. In the time of Guru Arjan, the fifth in line of succession to Guru Nanak, we have an account of a model sikh, Bhai Bhikari by name. A disciple once asked the Guru to introduce him to a Gurbhakta or a devoted disciple. The Guru directed him with a letter to Bhai Bhikari and asked him to stay with the Bhai Sahib for a few days. Bhikari received his brother-in-faith very warmly and entertained him to the best of his means. The day he arrived, his host was calmly sewing a piece of cloth which looked like a coffin-covering. The disciple, after spending a few days happily in his company, proposed to go back, but Bhikari requested him to stay on for some time more and to attend his son's wedding which was due shortly. At the loving insistence of the host, he agreed to do so. The wedding day came. There were festivities in the house but Bhikari was as serene as ever. The disciple like all the rest accompanied the wedding procession, witnessed the merry nuptials, and escorted the bride's procession back to Bhikari's house. The following day, as ill-luck would have it, Bhikari's only son, the newly-wedded youth, took ill suddenly and died. Bhikari quietly took out the cloth that he had prepared on purpose a few days earlier, wrapped the dead body of his son in it, took it to the cremation ground, and performed the last rites with his usual equanimity. Bhikari's steadfast attitude of composure all through this varying panorama of life, struck the disciple dumb with astonishment, for in Bhikari there was no trace of joy and sorrow, but perfect resignation to the Will of the Lord, which he knew right from the beginning; and he had acted accordingly, without exhibiting any personal feelings or emotions in the least.

I think everyone will agree that it is very difficult for us manmukhs to reach this level of Sikhi, whereby one does not emote elation or sorrow. Above Guru Ji used Bhai Bhikhari as a perfect example of a Gursikh obeying the will of God, but years later Guru Ji himself would do the same whilst being tortured by the authorities of the time.

Bhai Bhikarhi and Guru Ji were not the only Sikhs to show this rare quality. Years later many Sikhs followed in Guru Ji's steps, Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das, Bhai Dhayala,Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji, the Sahibzadey, Banda Singh Bahadur, Bhai Mani Singh, Bhai Taru Singh, the sikh women imprisoned by mir mannu, and the list goes on.... All these Sikhs expressed no ill feelings whilst they were being tortured, and they happily recited naam whilst enduring the torture.

In stark contrast, if anything bad happens to us we start to curse the Lord - "why did this happen to me" etc.. and the major reason for that is that we are too attached to everything around us, be it family or possessions. Again the solution is to attach ourselves to naam, but that's easier said than done for the majority of us.....

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Baba Deep Singh Ji Shaheed - Birthday


mrxu n mMdw lokw AwKIAY jy mir jwxY AYsw koie ]

maran n ma(n)dhaa lokaa aakheeai jae mar jaanai aisaa koe ||
Death would not be called bad, O people, if one knew how to truly die.

Baba Deep Singh Ji is one of the greatest examples of how a Saint Soldier should lead their lives. He epitomised every aspect of being a Saint Soldier, and today due to his actions and conduct he is rightly remembered as one of the most honoured martyrs in Sikh history. As a young kid i was recall seeing pictures adourning the walls in Gurdwaras in the UK of this great GurSikh who fought the enemy even with a severed head. Those images amazed me as a youngster, and i'm sure the youth of today still look upto heroes such as Baba Deep Singh Ji.

As the 20th January marks the Birthday of this great Sikh, i'd like to share some stories relating to the life of Baba Ji.

Birth and Early life of Baba Ji:

Baba Ji was born in Paahuwind, Amritsar, in the house of Bhai Bhagtu Ji and Mata jeeodee Ji. The date was Jan 20th 1682. It is said that his parents were blessed with a child after 12 years. In this time a Sikh saint had foretold them that they would have a very special child in their family, and they should name him Deep (One who gives light).

As Baba Ji was the only child he was showered with affection and devotion by his parents.

Baba Ji along with his parents went to visit Shri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji at Anadpur in 1694, when Baba Ji was 12 years old. They stayed for many days, and joined in with the sangat doing seva. They then approached Guru Ji to take his blessings and return home. Guru Ji requested to Baba Ji to stay at Anandpur with him, Baba Ji and his parents agreed for Baba Ji to stay. Baba Ji then spent his time in the service of Guru Ji.

Baba Ji was a keen and entusiastic student, he learnt Gurmukhi and Santhiyaa of Gurbaani from the revered Bhai Mani Singh Ji. In addition to Gurmukhi, Baba Ji also learnt several other languages. Aswell as the scholary aspect of Sikhi, Baba Ji was also trained in the martial arena, by Guru Ji himself. In this way Baba Ji became a very boloved Sikh of Guru Ji, and would even accompany Guru Ji on hunting expeditions. Baba Ji took amrit at the age of 18 from Guru Ji himself during the Vaisakhi of 1700.

Soon afterwards Guru Ji instructed Baba ji to return to his village. Very little has been written about what Baba Ji did during this time, some historians say that he got married.

About a year later a messenger arrived, and advised Baba Ji that Guru Ji had vacated the fort at Anandpur, and that his family had seperated during this time.

Baba Ji was disheartened by this news and immediatley set out to look for his beloved Guru Ji. Baba Ji finally met up with Guru Ji at Damdama Sahib in Talwandi, where Guru Ji narrated the bloody and horrific events of Chamkaur, and Sirhind (where the 4 Sahibzadey were martyred).

The Recitation Of Guru Granth Sahib Ji:

Whilst at Damdama Sahib, Guru Ji asked his followers (including Baba Deep Singh Ji) to visit Dhir Mal (the eldest son of Baba Gurditta Ji) at Kartarpur, and to obtain the copy of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Dhir Mal was hostile towards the Guru's house, as he was jealous that he was never appointed Guru. Dhir Mal suggested to Guru's followers that if their Guru was so great why couldn't he recite by heart the whole Granth Ji himself.

When Guru Ji heard Dhir Mal's response, he decided to recite the whole Guru Granth Sahib Ji at Damdama Sahib Ji. He recited whilst Bhai Mani Singh Ji, and Baba Deep Singh Ji amongst others completed the copies. The initial copy took just over 9 months to complete.

The following account has been taken from "16 days with Baba Maan Singh Ji":

A few months later, when Guru Gobind Singh jee finished dictating God’s Word to Bhai Mani Singh jee, he said lets have a continuous reading, or Akhand Paat. Guru jee said reading God’s Word in an Akhand Paat would purify the surroundings and everyone will once more be able to hear God’s Word. The Sikhs said they would listen with attention. 5 readers, or Granthis, were required, the ones that were chosen were of the highest spiritual state, they were knowers-of-God or Brahm-Gianees. Their names were: Bhai Mani Singh jee, Baba Deep Singh jee, Bhai Dharam Singh jee, Bhai Maan Singh jee and Bhai Kaan Singh jee. In addition to the 5 readers, 5 Khalsa were required to organise themselves so that there would always be someone in the prescence of Guru Granth Sahib jee in case of emergencies, or for security or any other duties. 5 more Khalsa were to ensure that the sacred pudding, or Karah Prashad, would be prepared and availble to the congregation at all times. Finally, 5 more Khalsa were responsible for cleaning the holy congregations’s hands and feet before they entered the royal court were the reading was taking place. Nowadays, we don’t even have 20 people at the ending ceremony, or the bhog! Nowadays, people say there is no need to keep a light burning alongside the Akhand paat, people say its against the Guru’s wisdom to keep a coconut and water alongside the Akhand Paat. But Khalsa jee, Guru Gobind Singh jee himself bowed to Guru Granth Sahib jee with a coconut and 5 pence! Khalsa jee, don’t believe what men with worldy wisodm say, only believe what Guru Granth Sahib jee says.

Guru Gobind Singh jee sat cross-legged in deep meditation for the whole of the continuous reading. Now you wont believe what happened next because our mentality is to criticise our Guru, but on the third day when the ending ceremony, or bhog, was about to begin there was an incredible amount of spiritual power in the royal court. The verses called Saloks of the ninth Guru were being read and Sikhs like Baba Deep Singh jee, Bhai Maan Singh jee and Bhai Kaan Singh jee who were sitting alongside Guru Gobind Singh jee began rising into the air as they meditated. Their spirits were leaving for God’s Realm of Truth, or Sach Khand. When Baba Deep Singh jee on the left of Guru Gobind Singh jee and Bhai Dharam Singh jee on the left began rising, Bhai Dharam Singh jee said “I don’t know what’s happening.” Baba Deep Singh jee replied, “God’s Word is taking us to God’s Realm of Truth, Sach Khand.” Guru Gobind Singh jee heard their voices and opening his eyes he grabbed their hands and pulled them back down. Guru jee said, “You are going to Sach Khand already, but you have great things to do in this world before you go.”

Baba Ji continued to make additional copies of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and also made one in Persian (which i am led to believe is in Baghdad). Guru Ji left Damdama Sahib for Nanded, and left Baba Ji in charge of Damdama Sahib Taksal. Baba Ji continued to serve the Panth with his Scholary work, and continued to produce Gutke for the congregation. Aswell as the spiritual aspect of Sikhi, Baba Ji ensured that the martial tradition of Sikhi were also taught at this Taksal.

Baba Ji had devoted his life to the Panth, and when the time came for him to answer the call of the Panth, he would be one of the foremost warriors in every battle. The same occurred in 1709 when along with Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, the Khalsa forces punished the tyrants of Sirhind and Sadhaura.

In 1733, Baba Ji was appointed the leader of one of the Jathas of Dal Khalsa by Nawab Kapoor Singh Ji. Later, in 1748,when the Dal Khalsa was reorganised into 12 misls, he was entrusted with the leadership of Shaheedan di Misl.

Battle Lines Drawn:

Ahmed Shah Abdali was returning to kabul after his 4th invasion of India in 1757. he was taking with him precious booty, and many men and women as slaves. Baba Deep Singh Ji and his Jatha came to know of this, and they devised a plan to free their fellow country men. Baba Ji and his men were able to rescue the prisoners and also retrieve the booty. The Singhs of Guru Gobind Singh Ji had acheieved what the Rajputs and Marathas had failed to do so. Even Abdali was shocked at the daring Sikhs. Because of the dare devil tactics of Baba Ji and his Jatha, and their noble acts of saving the honour of indian women, the captive women and children began to sing:

"Moreen Baba Kachh Walea Chhai Naheen Taan Ran gai Basre noon gai"

'O' brave Sikh wearing Kaccha, liberate the enslaved Women, otherwise they would be taken to Basra.

Abdali was livid at this act of the Sikhs, he was seething, and gave strcit orders to his son (Taimur) to finish off these infidels. Taimur followed his fathers orders to the hilt, and began demolishing the Gurudware of the Sikhs, as he knew the power of these Sikhs was in their Guru, which resided in the Gurudware. Taimur and his men filled the sarovars with debris and alcohol, and commited several acts of beadbi. Baba Ji came to hear of these acts inparticular the destruction of Shri Harmandir Sahib Ji, he announced to his Jatha and the Sangat that they would indeed celebrate Diwali at Amritsar this year.

Baba Ji offered his prayers in the form of ardas and made the vow that may his head fall at Shri Harmandi Sahib Ji.

isr jwey qW jwey myrw is~KI is~dk nw jwey

Sir Jaae ta jaae, mera sikhi sidhak na jaae

If my head is severed, then so be it, but may i never loose my Sikh way of life.

We must remember at this point that Baba Ji was at the age of 75, and yet he had the strength and vigour of a youg man. He set off towards Amritsar with a large number of sikhs, by the time they reached Taran Taaran, the number of Sikhs had reached 5,000. At this point Baba Ji, felt it was appropriate to draw a line and ask his men to only cross it if they are willing to sacrifice their lives, as there was no turning back from this point. Baba Ji recited the following shabad from Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji:

jau qau pRym Kylx kw cwau ] isru Dir qlI glI myrI Awau ]
iequ mwrig pYru DrIjY ]isru dIjY kwix n kIjY ]20]

If you desire to play this game of love with Me,then step onto My
Path with your head in hand.
When you place your feet on this Path,
give Me your head, and do not pay any attention to public opinion. ||20||

The Singhs were almost fighting eachother to cross the line, such was their devotion.
Upon hearing the news of the Singhs approaching, the governor of Lahore sent an army of 20,000 to face them. The two armies clashed near Gohalwarh on the 11th nov 1757. The singhs pushed the enemy force back, and reached the village of Chabba. At this point Attal Khan (Some historians mention Jamal Khan) entered the battle field, and engaged Baba Deep Singh. Both of them inflicted blows simultaneously and severed the others head. Baba Ji was initially grounded by the blow, however when a follower reminded him of his promise to offer his head at Darbar Sahib, Baba Ji somehow with Satguru's Kirpa was able to continue wielding his sword in one hand whilst holding his head in the other. The enemy soldiers started to run away after seeing this sight.

Baba Ji was then able to reach the parkarma of Harmandir Sahib and attain Martyrdom.

And thus one of the greatest heroes of Sikh History fulfilled his oath and also wrote his name in the annals of history. Many people find it hard to believe how a man can fight without a head, these people under estimate the power of amrit, and naam, but also the kirpa of Waheguru. Our mission or purpose in life is to become one with Waheguru, once this is achieved, then that enlightened soul can achieve anything. Some may say that there is no difference between such an enlightened GurSikh, the SatGuru, and God.

Dhan Baba Deep Singh Ji Shaheed

We Salute our Martyrs.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Sikh Course


In addition to the Sikh Camp, there will also be a "Sikh Course" being held in Bradford in February. The course will cater for adults, and will be held over one day. The aim is for people to gain a better understanding of Sikhism - which is a religion which is relatively unknown to many people. I've attended an earlier course, and was really impressed with what was covered in the course. The course does not go over the basics as in Gurus, history etc.. But concentrates on Gurbani, and what being a sikh is really about. For me it was an eye opener, as the majority of the material was new to me. Changed my prespective on life and Sikhi totally. I would suggest all those interested and able to attend, to do so....

For more details click

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Bradford Sikhi Camp Feb 2008


The next Bradford Sikhi Camp will be taking place on Feb 9th and 10th at Guru Nank Dev Ji Gurdwara, Wakefield Road, Bradford.

Monday, 7 January 2008

It's just not cricket...anymore


Whoever said cricket was a gentleman's game, would have been left scratching their head over the shenanigans this weekend down under. For the first time in the series India applied some pressure on the Aussies, and may have caused an upset if the standard of umpiring had been to the level it is expected at an international test match. But instead of talking about what a great match it was, we find ourselves embroiled in one of the biggest controversies since perhaps the ball tampering uproar.

I have some sympathy with India in that the umpiring was poor and most of the important and match changing decisions went against them. Then there was some unsportsmanship behaviour by the Aussies (claiming a catch when it appeared to be a grounded catch, yet the umpire taking the word of Ricky Ponting as gospel).

Then the major incident involving Harbhajan and Symonds, in which it is alleged that Singh called Symonds a 'Monkey' as a racial insult. If Harbhajan used the word as an insult in a racial way, then fair enough he should be banned for longer than 3 matches, undoubtedly, as there is no room in the game for such behaviour. However, there does not seem to be any real evidence to support this. Neither of the umpires heard it, Tendulkar said he didn't hear it, Gilchrist said he didn't, so we have Clarke and Hayden supporting Symonds saying they heard it. I don't feel that as a match referee you can really make a decision when you only have the words of players from either side to go by.

Having said all that, all the injustices the Indians have faced, does not mean they can cancel the tour in my eyes. They have the right to appeal, and go through the proper channels, but cancelling the tour is not the solution. They need to take the higher moral ground. Do their talking on the pitch, that's where cricket is played funnily enough. Sledging has been a part of game since way back, but its when you over step the limits of sledging. The Aussies are no strangers to the art of sledging, in fact we could argue that they are the masters.

Back to the cricket, as I've mentioned before on this blog, India need to bring back in Shewag, as the openers are not seeing off the new ball. Yuvraj, having been accommodated at the expense of an opener, is not really pulling up any trees. Either him or Jaffer should be dropped from the next match.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Art Of Punjab


Born in Amritsar India, Kanwar Singh Dhillon has been engaged in the process of art making for as long as he can remember. He is influenced by a host of past masters such as Sobha Singh, Caravaggio and J.W Waterhouse.

Growing up in Toronto Canada, Kanwar explored several paths that would allow him to work as a professional artist including animation and book illustration. However, it wasn’t until he started to take an interest in the history of the Sikhs that his art took a definitive turn for the better.
With his painting style Kanwar Singh Dhillon aspires to combine the grace and beauty of Sobha Singh’s portraits with the documentary style of Sikh history painters such as Devender Singh. Punjab’s history is rich with the exploits of heroes and sages from the time of Alexander to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The spread of the Sikh faith and the rise of the Khalsa have featured heavily in his recent works.

Please support the artist and visit his website to take a look at his impressive work.

The Importance of Amrit and Rehat


During the time of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, just like today, many short sighted people like myself, questioned wether it was neccesary to take amrit. They felt as long as they did seva, they would be saved or liberated.

I'll share some examples of these people, and how they changed their views on amrit with Guru Ji's grace.

No life without Amrit

A Sikh said to Guru Gobind Singh jee, “What’s the point of rehat, or code of conduct, forget about receiving amrit all I need to do is the Guru’s service, or seva, don’t I?”

Guru Gobind Singh jee told him the time would come and he would understand why amrit was important. Soon afterwards, the man’s young son died. Guru Gobind Singh jee came. The Sikh stood up and said, “Guru jee, my son has left.”

Guru Gobind Singh jee asked him to take the sheet off the body and said to the father, “I thought you said he was dead, but look at him his hands, feet, eyes and teeth are still intact. Yet you say he is dead.”

The Sikh said, “What’s the point of the body when there is no breath?”

Guru Gobind Singh jee said, “Now you have your answer. You asked me what’s the point of the body without any breath. In the same way without rehat, or the code of conduct that you follow after receiving amrit, my Sikh has no life at all, infact he’s as good as dead.”

The Sikh said, “Guru jee, now I understand that Amrit is as important to the Guru as breaths are to the body.”

The Brahm-gianee:

Mata Gujree jee humbly pressed her palms together and asked Guru Gobind Singh jee, “Son is there anyway I could be blessed with the sight of a Brahm-gianee, a Knower-of God!”

Guru jee replied, “Mata jee get up at amrit-vela, get ready, meditate on Guru Nanak jee, prepare prashad and do Ardas. A Brahm-gianee will come to you, you will not have to go anywhere.”

At that time Brahm-gianee Baba Ram Kaur jee was engrossed in God’s Name and instantly knew that he had to meet Mata Gujree jee. He got on his horse and came to Mata jee’s house.

With pressed palms she said, “I am greatly blessed, greatly blessed to have the holy sight of you Brahm-gianee jee.” She respected him greatly. Baba Ram Kaur jee went to have the sacred vision of Guru Gobind Singh jee the next day.

Guru Gobind Singh jee greeted him and said, “Baba Ram Kaur jee, receive Khanda-batta-da-amrit (amrit prepared in an iron bowl and stirred by the symbol of God’s power the mighty double edged sword) and belong to the Guru.”

Baba jee was taken aback, he said, “Guru jee, I’ve been blessed with the knowledge of God (Brahm Gian) yet am I still without a Guru? Surely, I don’t need to receive amrit?

Guru jee began to say, “Baba jee, you haven’t received amrit yet, you aren’t living according to the code of conduct of the Guru’s house. When you receive amrit and live by the code of conduct of the Guru’s house then you have become the Guru’s.”

Baba jee said, “Guru jee, I read God’s Word (Gurbanee) everyday, in Sukmanee Sahib it says that the Brahm-giani is God himself, so what’s the need for me to receive?”

Guru jee spent great efforts to make him understand. Some time passed, winter came a great festival was about to begin. The officials of Anandpur were clearing the place of stray and wild dogs. They were feeding the dogs poison.

Baba Ram Kaur jee came out and was taken curious about what the officials were doing. He said to them, “Brother, you keep feeding the stray dogs poison, but you leave the ones with collars alone. Why make the distinction? They’re all wandering the streets.”

The officials said, “O Baba jee, the dogs with collars belong to someone. The ones without collars don’t belong to anyone. We can kill countless stray dogs and no one will object. But, if we kill even one dog with a collar, it’s master will go to the Government court and complain against us. We will be called up and punished. That is the difference, dogs without collars belong to no one, dogs with collars belong to someone.”

Baba Ram Kaur jee finally understood what Guru jee was saying about belonging to the Guru. He thought “Ram Kaur, don’t get mislead that just because you have got Brahm-Gian, the knowledge-of-God, that you are safe. You still don’t belong to the Guru.”

There are two types of Sikhs: ones that belong to the Guru; and ones that don’t. The ones that receive amrit and live out the Rehat, or code of conduct, belong to the Guru, the ones that don’t will suffer the same fate as the collar-less dogs. At the last breath, Guru Gobind Singh jee will take his Sikhs by the arm, the ones without a Guru will be left to suffer like the collar-less dogs.

“Kabeer kutheh ram ko, motee mera nao…Kabeer says I am a dog of God, and Motee is my name.”

Baba Ram Kaur jee couldn’t sleep that night, because he realised he didn’t belong to the Guru. In the morning he went to have the sacred sight, or darshan, of Guru Gobind Singh jee. Joining his hands together he greeted Guru jee and was asked, “Baba jee, I haven’t seen you for some time, what made you remember me today?”

Baba Jee -“Guru jee, bless me with the gift of amrit.”

Guru Jee -“Baba Ram Kaur jee, you are a Brahm-gianee, the same as God, what need is there for you to receive amrit?”

Baba Jee -“Yesterday I saw the dog catchers poison the dogs without collars and spare the dogs with collars. I thought both are dogs, but some were spared some were killed. The dog catcher told me that if a dog with a collar is killed then the master will come and make a report against them. O Guru jee that greatly affected my mind, just because I’m a Brahm-gianee it doesn’t mean I don’t need a Guru. I realised the ones who’ve received amrit will be protected by you in the true court. Bless me with amrit Guru jee.”

Guru Gobind Singh jee told Bhai Daya Singh jee to prepare for the amrit ceremony.

Baba Ram Kaur jee was from the same lineage as Baba Budda jee, he received amrit and became Baba Ram Kaur Singh jee.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji and why take amrit:

Sikhs said to Guru Gobind Singh jee, “What’s the need to receive amrit? We are always performing your service and everyone can see we that we are Sikhs.”

Guru jee said “Wait for your answer.”

A Sikh came and donated a gold jewel for Guru jee’s waist band. Guru jee said, “Call the jeweller, I want to know if it is real gold."

All the Sikhs said, “Guru jee no-one would dare donate fools gold to the Guru, its plain to see that it is gold.”

Guru jee said, “I need to know for sure that it is pure gold.”

The Jeweller came and looked at it and said it looks like gold.

Guru jee repeated, “I need to know for sure that it is 100% gold.”

The jeweller went to get his touchstone, by touching the gold on it there was a positive reaction. The jeweller certified the jewel as being 100% gold.

Guru jee said, “O Sikhs, you asked me what’s the point of receiving amrit when its already obvious that you are all Sikhs. Receive amrit and prove that you are 100% Sikhs. Amrit is my touchstone.”

Make Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji your Guru


A dairy farmer’s daughter sold milk every morning. People queued for hours paid their money and got their milk. If anyone jumped into the queue she refused to serve them and told them go to the back of the queue. One day a Saint was waiting in the queue. He’d been waiting for 3 hours. Meanwhile a young man came and went right to the front of the queue.

Before, she could tell him to go to the back he told her “Keep your mouth shut. It’s not good to talk too much. Now give me some milk.”

She said, “Maharaj that’s no problem,” and poured the milk into his container. He didn’t even pay her and went on his way.

When the saint got to the front of the queue she said, “O holy man get your milk.”

He said, “O daughter I don’t want any milk, I want you to answer my questions. Don’t you have a rule that everyone queues?”

She said, “Yes.”

He said, “When that young man came he didn’t queue, he talked to you roughly, he didn’t pay you any money and he still took the milk. While I’ve been queuing here for 3 hours. Why is that?”

She said, “O holy man, he was my friend! Friends don’t have to obey rules, friends don’t have to queue, friends don’t have to pay, friends help each other out of friendship!”

The saint said, “O daughter, what a lesson I’ve learnt from you. All my life I’ve been passing the rosary beads through my fingers chanting God’s Name, but never, never have I made God my friend. If I had I’d be suffering no hardship.”

We haven’t made Guru Granth Sahib jee into our Guru. Yet, year after year Guru jee tells us don’t drink alcohol, but we say we will drink. Guru jee tells us don’t cut your hair, but we cut it. Guru jee says get up at amrit vela, but we say we won’t. Then we still expect Guru to help us.

(story taken from 16 days with Baba Maan Singh Jee)

Friday, 4 January 2008



"The one, incomprehensible in spirit, uniquely brave, And of limitless courage, was made manifest."
(Bhai Gurdas Singh)

This weekend the Sikh Community around the world will celebrate the birthday of the 10th Guru (Guru Gobind Singh Ji). Guru Ji - Sarbans Dani was born in 1666 at Patna Sahib in the Indian state of Bihar. Congratulations to all the Sikhs on this glorious occassion.

One could write volumes and volumes of books upon Guru Gobind Singh Ji, and still not be able to do justice to this great personality. I’m going to attempt and share some interesting Sakhis, which some of you may have heard or read before. If there are any historical errors in any of the accounts, please accept my humble apologies.

The Pir bows in the opposite direction

(Saakhi courtesy of Sikhiwiki and gurmatinfo)

Pir Bhikhan Shah was a great muslim saint of the 17th century, who had a large following. On the day of Guru Ji's birth, the Pir made a bowing gesture towards the East (Patna Sahib). His followers were astounded by this gesture and questioned why he had bowed to anything or anyone other than the Kaaba. Pir Bhikhan Shah explained to his followers that the Lord himself had revealed himself through a child in the City of Patna, and that the Pir was bowing to that divine light. The Pir had an urge to go and meet this child. He travelled all the way to Patna to meet this infant. At first Mata Gujri and Guru Ji's maternal Uncle were slightly reluctant to let the Pir meet the child. However the Pir's persistance eventually paid off, and his wish was fulfilled. Bhikhan Shah wanted to see if the child would favour the Hindus or the Muslims. He placed two pots (one representing Hindus and the other representing Muslims). The 3 month old Guru Ji, placed his hands on both pots, and therefore satisfying the Pirs concerns. The Pir was able to walk away knowing fully well that this new seer would not differentiate between Hindu or Muslim. Years later, the Pir also went to see Guru Ji (when he had grown into a young man) at Anandpur.
Another similar instance of a Saint recognising the divine light within a young Gobind Rai is as follows:
Once a Muslim saint, Araf Din of Lakhnaur (Ambala) passed through Patna with a band of his followers. Seeing young Gobind Rai playing with his friends, he stamped out of his carriage and bowed at his feet. His followers couldn't bear to see this, and one of them angrily said "Sir, you are a staunch Muslim and yet you bowed to this Hindu child. Have you become a Kafir (infidel)?" Araf Din smiled and said "I bow only to divine light. It will take a long time for you to see that light." To everybody's surprise he kissed Gobind Rai's hands and they parted smiling, without a word.

The Importance of Gurbani

(Sakhi taken from Divine Mystic Reflections on Gurmat, courtesy of Sikhnation)

Many people used to bring a lot of gifts of various kinds to Guru Ji. One day, a yogi came and presented Guru Ji with the wings of a bird. The Sikhs questioned Guru Ji, remarking that it was a strange gift. Guru Ji took the wings and attached them to an arrow and shot the winged arrow into the sky. He then asked his Sikhs to go out and search for the arrow and bring it back to him.

They searched far and wide but could find no trace of the arrow. they came and reported that, despite an exhaustive search, they could not find the arrow anywhere. Apparently, the arrow had vanished.

Guru Ji then replied that the wings which he had attached to the arrow were from a bird which was not from this earth but from another realm in the sky. The arrow had gone back to where the bird had come from.

Now Guru Ji explained clearly to his Sikhs that, just as the arrow had been transported to another realm by being attached the wings of the sky-bird, in the same manner any one who is attached to Gurbani will be ferried to the land from which the Bani originated.

Dur kI bwxI AweI ]
dhhur kee baanee aaee ||
The Bani of His Word emanated from the Primal Lord.

iqin sglI icMq imtweI ]
thin sagalee chi(n)th mittaaee ||
It eradicates all anxiety.

(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 628)

The Liberator

(Sakhi taken from sikh sangat)

One day after the morning congregation was over a man brought a large bear into the darbar of Dhan Dhan Satguru Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj. The man wanted to give a performance with his bear before Guru Sahib and the sangat and as a consequence asked for permission. On being permitted to do so he began to wrestle with his bear. After a while he used his stick to make the bear do all sorts of tricks.

At the time a Sikh called Bhai Kirtia Ji was doing chaur seva over Dhan Dhan Satguru Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj. As the bear did it’s tricks Bhai Kirtia Ji would begin to laugh out loudly. Towards the end of the performance Guru Sahib turned to Bhai Kirtia and asked him, “Bhai Kirtia do you not recognise the bear?” Bhai Kirtia looked confused and said, “Guru Ji it is a bear I have never seen” Guru Sahib smiled and said, “Bhai Kirita it is your father Bhai Gurdas”.

Upon hearing this Bhai Kirita was really surprised and upset. He folded his hands together and humbly said to Guru Sahib, “O Guru of the world, my father always did seva in your holy darbar. He would get up early in the morning and recite his prayers. He also served the ninth King, Dhan Dhan Satguru Sri Guru Tegh Bahahdur Ji Maharaj. Having done such dedicated seva how can this be the reward given to him? If this is his fate what fate awaits someone like me? Please be kind and tell me why my father ended up in this unfortunate position after serving the house of Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj with such love and devotion.”

Guru Ji said, “It is correct that your father had served Dhan Dhan Satguru Sri Guru Tegh Bahadhur Ji Maharaj devotedly. But on one occasion, while he was distributing karah prasad, a passing Gursikh came into darbar sahib to bow before the king of kings, with a cartload of goods on the move. After paying his respects to Dhan Dhan Satguru Sri Guru Tegh Bahadhur Ji Maharaj and the sangat the Gursikh begged for some prasad but your father refused to give him any. Instead, he reprimanded that Gursikh for making the request again and again and for advancing towards him like a bear. That Gursikh picked up a small piece of prasad which had fallen on the floor and uttered, ‘Waheguru’, and went away asking Akaal Purakh why some Sikhs of Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj had forgotten the true spirit of Sikhi. According to this Gursikh those fake Sikhs were the real bears. A few days after this incident your father died and on account of the words uttered by that Gursikh was born again as the bear who sits in front of us today.”

On hearing these words of Dhan Dhan Satguru Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj the entire congregation felt pity for Bhai Gurdas Ji and collectively they begged Guru Ji to somehow redeem Bhai Gurdas Ji from that sort of life. Guru Sahib smiled at his Sikhs and turned towards the owner of the bear and asked him what price he was willing to sell the bear? The owner of the bear agreed to part with the animal for 200 rupees. Guru Sahib took 200 rupees from his own pocket and paid the owner of the bear.

After this the bear sat at the feet of Dhan Dhan Satguru Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj. Guru Sahib then got some karah prasad prepared which was distributed to all the sangat. Guru Sahib fed the bear a bit of prasad. A few seconds after Guru Ji had done this the bear went to sleep for the last time and Bhai Gurdas Ji’s soul was liberated by that King of this world and the next.

nwrwien nrpiq nmskwrY ]
naaraaein narapath namasakaarai ||
The one who bows in humble reverence to the Primal Lord, the Lord of all beings

AYsy gur kau bil bil jweIAY Awip mukqu moih qwrY ]1] rhwau ]
aisae gur ko bal bal jaaeeai aap mukath mohi thaarai ||1|| rehaao ||
- I am a sacrifice, a sacrifice to such a Guru; He Himself is liberated, and He carries me across as well. ||1||Pause||

The importance of Amrit:

On seeing Guru Gobind Singh jee, two Sikhs Lukhnira and Shamira fell at his feet saying, “We’re blessed with your presence in our town, Guru jee.” Shamira stayed with Guru jee, performing service, or seva, meditating on God’s Name and eventually was blessed enough to receive amrit.

Shamira kept coming everyday to do seva, “Satguru kee seva safal ha, je ko karay chit
laa-i...serving the True Guru is successful only if one serves with their full mind
behind it.” Guru Gobind Singh jee was pleased and said, “Ask for anything Shamira.”
Shamira replied, “O Cherisher of the Poor, Gareeb Nivaaj, save me from the cycle of
birth and death.” Guru Gobind Singh jee said, “No, ask for something else.”
Shamira said, “I only want to be saved from the pain of being born and dying again
and again.”
Shamira repeated his original request, “Guru jee, I only want to be saved from the
cycle of birth and death.” Guru Gobind Singh jee said, “No Shamira, I’ll give you
spiritual powers instead.” But Shamira sang, “Ridh Sidh sabh moh ha…Spiritual
Powers are all just another attachment.” Guru jee said, “Shamira, I’ll give you the
heavens of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu.” But Shamira replied, “No Guru jee, all these
things are just God’s game. I have read your words in Bentee Chaupee:
‘Kal Pae Brahma bap dhara. Kal paee Shivjoo avtara.
Kal pae kar bisan prakasa. Sakal kal ka kia tamasa’
Brahma, the God of creation, was himself created by Waheguru’s order.
Shiva, the god of death, was also created by Waheguru
Vishnu, the god who sustains the creation, was illuminated by God’s order.
Infact this whole game of life is played by Waheguru.”
Guru Gobind Singh jee said once again, “Ask for something else?” Shamira said, “I
dont want to ask any more because I don’t get it.” Guru jee said, “Well in that case
Shamira, today you’ll get what you want, but only on one condition, you’ll have to do
exactly what I say. Shamira do you agree to receive amrit, if your receive amrit many
of your generations will be saved too?”
Shamira became Shamira Singh jee after he received amrit.
Shamira Singh had a doubt in his mind about what Guru jee had said about all his desires being fulfilled by receiving. Guru Gobind Singh jee knew what he was thinking. That night Shamira Singh had a dream. He saw himself die and become a dog, then a lizard, then a lion and he continued being born into different animals until sunrise. The next day he fell at Guru jee’s feet. Guru Gobind Singh jee saw that he had a yellow and shocked face. He said, “Guru jee, I received amrit because you said I’d be free from the cycle of birth and death. But in my dream I was born thousands of times. So why did this happen?” Guru Gobind Singh jee said, “Shamira those lives you saw, were the ones that you were going to go through after this one. But by receiving amrit your life is has become successful. Shamira Singh if you never saw the dream then your doubt would never have been dispelled!”

Guru Tere Joga

(sakhi courtesy of arshiwaves)

On a homage trip to the Darbar of Guru Gobind Singh, Joga Singh, visiting with his parents, caught the eye of Guru Ji while serving in the langar (communal kitchen) compound. Guru Ji observed Joga Singh on several occasions and was impressed with the dedication with which Joga Singh, at a young tender age, served jal, daal and phulka during the langar and afterwards attended to the washing of utensils and general cleaning up.

One day Guru Ji approached Joga Singh and asked him his name to which the latter replied “Ji Joga” (Joga literally translated means ‘able’ ‘of service’ or ‘dedicated to’).Guru Ji smiled and, in his unique sense of dramatic humour, asked ‘bai Kehde Joga' (to whom are you dedicated or to whom have you pledged loyalty?). To this he promptly replied ‘Ji Guru Joga’ (meaning dedicated to the service of the Guru). Guru Ji’s reply was equally spontaneous “lai phir, jay toon Guru joga tan ajj ton Guru bhee terey joga" (if you have dedicated yourself to me, then I too dedicate myself to you). Guru Ji was so touched by the innocence and resolve in which Joga replied that he embraced him and requested his parents to pledge Joga Singh to the service of the Guru Ghar. “Kei tusin Jogay noon sade paas nahin shad sakdey”? asked Guru Ji. The parents gladly agreed. Thus began one of the most unique relationship of Guru and his young disciple which has become an inspiration for many a young aspiring Gursikh.

Joga Singh grew up in the Guru’s service and endeared himself further to the Guru and his prominent Sikhs. In time he came to be regarded as one of the most loyal and staunch followers of the House of Nanak.

When he became of marriageable age Joga Singh’s parents arranged for a suitable life partner for him and wrote to the Guru seeking his permission to send Joga Singh back home for Anand Karaj (the marriage Ceremony of Bliss). A letter, to this effect, was also sent to Joga Singh who approached the Guru for his permission and blessings for the marriage.

Guru Ji smiled and said “Joga Singh over the years we have become very attached to you. Your contribution to the Guru Ghar is exemplary and we are very fond of you. It is not easy for us to part with you but you may go on one condition”.

“Maharaj what condition? Please just give your command”’ replied Joga Singh.

“Joga Singh you are not only very near and dear to me but you also have many of the Guru ghar’s responsibilities on your shoulders. Therefore, if and when you receive a message from me you must return immediately without wasting a second. You must drop whatever you are doing and head straight for Anandpur Sahib”.

“Satbachan Ji Maharaj” replied Joga Singh.

In due course all the preliminaries having being concluded the big day arrived for Joga Singh. The story goes that when Joga Singh was about to start the fourth and final laav (circumambulation) a Singh sahib from the congregation got up announcing the Guru’s greetings and informing Joga Singh that Guru Ji has recalled him to his service. On hearing Joga Singh got up immediately without concluding the four laavs despite the pleas of his and the bride’s parents. He immediately left for Anandpur Sahib, Guru’s abode. The laavs had to be completed by using his palla (ceremonial scarf, being symbolic of the spiritual bondage of two souls) and photograph as per the Sikh scriptures.

He set out on his long journey lost in thoughts and self-adulation. Ego soon took the better of him. He mused “what a great and dedicated Sikh I am. I am sure no other Sikh would have walked away from his marriage ceremony, so near completion. No one could have shown such sacrifice and loyalty to the Guru”. An English saying goes ‘pride comes before the fall’. Joga Singh soon reached the town of Hoshiarpur. It was late afternoon when his route took him through the busy town centre. The sound of sweet notes of lilting music fell upon his ears. A melodious female voice sent a sweet sensation through Joga Singh and he stopped under the window from which the voice came. He enquired from a passer by and learnt this was a lady of the night practicing for her late evening session of music and entertainment (mehfil).

Joga Singh was so captivated by the music and the sensual voice that he plucked up enough courage to climb up the stairs for a live rendering of the song. He adjusted the style of his turban and altered mode of his clothing to avoid being recognized as a Sikh. On reaching the doorstep of the damsel, he was confronted by a doorman. Joga Singh expressed his wish. The guard said it was too early and that the mehfil (musical sitting) would not start until late evening. Joga Singh pleaded “look I have long journey ahead of me, all I want is to meet the lady and listen to the song after which I will be on my way”. The doorman remained steadfast. Joga Singh left rather disheartened and disappointed but he had made up his mind to return later. He walked around the town, aimlessly, to kill time. Well after the sunset he returned to the dancer cum singer’s place, again to be met by the same doorman. But again the doorman refused entry, saying the lady was entertaining a special guest and his instructions were to let in no one. Displeasure showed on Joga Singh’s face but he had to leave.

However, Joga Singh had resolved, he would not leave Hoshiarpur without attending the lady’s court.

He waited, killing his time somehow and returned a few hours later. This time he was met by a different doorman, dressed up in a traditional doorman’s clothes but looking rather distinguished and even more austere than the previous doorman. In different clothes he might even be a Sikh. He was again refused entry and told the lady was entertaining a special guest. Joga Singh left but still did not realise that as Guru’s Sikh he ought not to even entertain the thought of listening to such music let alone the desire of attending her court. The impact of kaam is such that even the ultra pious and devoted yogis could not escape its infliction and Joga Singh was no exception. The continual refusal only fired Joga Singh’s desire and strengthened his resolve. He would not go without attending the lady’s court, he resolved. He wanted to soak up the sweet melodies of the night which his heart so pined for.

Joga had forgotten who he was; forgotten his mission. His faith had wavered. He was besotted by the lady of the night. It was well after midnight when he returned and was met by the same distinguished looking doorman. This time he was rather angered by Joga’s presence and reminded him who he was. How could a Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh visit a place of ill-repute? He asked.

He said “you should be ashamed of yourself. Despite your clumsy adjustment of clothing I can make out you are devoted Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh. I have been trying to place since your last visit and I think I might even have seen you at Guru Ji’s Darbar. Your face looks familiar. This is the time when Guru’s Sikhs are preparing to recite their early morning prayers. You have lost your way my son. You better get going or I’ll teach a lesson you will never forget”.

This jolted Joga Singh’s soul. He suddenly woke up and realised how he had stumbled form the righteous path; how his ego had taken the better of him and that he was still far from conquering the five thieves. He had let himself down. He had let his Guru down. Without Guru’s Grace his soul would burn with worldly desires. Joga Singh wasted no further time and made his way to Anandpur Sahib and once again his soul pined for the touch of the lotus feet of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Joga Singh travelled through the night (or what was left of it). When he reached Anandpur Sahib Guru Ji was holding his daily darbar. His disciples sat at his lotus feet intently listening to Guru’s Bani, immersed in a spiritual trance. Joga Singh stood outside, hesitant, debating what might be the right time to enter and beg Guru’s forgiveness. He was apprehensive that the Guru, the master of three worlds, all knowing (janijaan), probably knew of his previous night’s exploits. Joga Singh was twitching nervously and sweating profusely. He finally caught the Guru’s eye. “Joga Singh why are you standing outside, we are longing to meet you, come in. You are one of my prominent Sikhs; you should not dither to seek my audience” beckoned Guru Sahib.

Head down, palms joined Joga entered and threw himself at the lotus feet of the Guru. The conversation which ensued went along the following lines:

Guru Ji : "Joga Singh it appears you have been going through some emotional turmoil. Your haggard looks, the strain in your eyes cannot be entirely through traveling. Something is bothering you."

Bhai Joga: " True Satguru, I have been traveling all night and am also a bit disturbed but Maharaj it appears you too did not sleep very well last night."

Guru Ji: "You are right Joga Singh I had to travel all night to rescue a beloved Sikh of mine."

Joga Singh’s heart sank. ”Is the Guru by any chance referring to me?” He asked himself. “I think Guru Ji knows”. He said to himself.

Bhai Joga: "Maharaj, which Sikh did you rescue?"

Guru Ji: "The one who had lost his way and was circling a kotha (a house of ill repute). One whose heart was craving for sensual music and base desires; one who was heading for a pitfall leading to the world of sin and disgrace. I had to transform myself into a shield and stand between his spirituality and the abyss of sin."

This settled it for Joga Singh. So it was Guru Ji himself who stood guard outside the lady’s house, he reminded himself. What have I done? He admonished himself. What have I put my Guru through? He started crying uncontrollably with his head on Guru’s lotus feet.

Bhai Joga: "O Satguru (True Guru) what kind of a Sikh am I? I have disgraced you, my faith. My ego got the better of me. Hey Sache Patshah (True Emperor) have mercy upon my soul, keep my mind focused on your lotus feet. Bless me that I never again stray from the True Path again."

The merciful Guru raised Joga Singh from the floor and embraced him.

Guru Ji: "Joga Singh you are one of my most dedicated Sikhs and you are still close to my heart. How could I let you fall into the abyss of sin and disgrace? You pledged your loyalty to me and it was my duty to safeguard your spiritual interests."

Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Pareh Hatt:

At the time of Guru Gobind Singh jee, there was a Sikh in a distant village whose name was Pareh-hut, or Get-Away. How did he get this strange name? Once he came to see Guru Gobind Singh jee in Anandpur. He wanted

the great gift of Naam, or God’s sacred Name. He pushed through the crowd and bowed, but Guru Gobind Singh jee was more concerned with getting through the crowd and shouted “Pareh-hut…Get-Away!” He was so simple that he became happy with Guru jee’s words and took it be the great gift of Naam that he was searching for. He knew Guru jees instructions were to meditate on Naam day and night, so that’s what he did. He would get up at amrit vela in the early morning and chant ‘Pareh-hut, Pareh-hut’ for a few hours. People began calling him ‘Pareh-hut.’

Sikhs asked Guru Gobind Singh jee to show them a Sikh who obeyed the Guru. Guru Gobind Singh jee said go and find Pareh-hut. The Sikhs went to his village and asked at his door, “Bibi jee, is this Pareh-hut’s house?” She said it was and called Pareh-hut to return from farming the fields. They requested him to go with them to Punjab into Guru Gobind Singh jee’s prescence. He agreed, after travelling all day, they rested together that night and at amrit vela he got ready and started chanting ‘Pareh-hut, pareh-hut.’ The Sikhs thought what kind of meditation is this? They chanted ‘Waheguru, Waheguru’ as normal. Reaching AnandPur, the Sikhs complained to Guru Gobind Singh jee, “He doesn’t read his daily Nitnaym prayers, he doesn’t chant the Gur Mantr of ‘Waheguru Waheguru’, he doesn’t repeat the Mool mantr, in fact Guru jee, he doesn’t obey you at all yet you say he does obey you. How can this be?”

Guru Gobind Singh jee asked Pareh-hut whether the complaints were true. He

humbly replied, “O Satguru Patshah, True Guru King, once I came to you to get the greatest gift of Naam, but there was a great crowd and as I bowed you told me to ‘Get-Away - Pareh-hut,’ I was so happy that you had blessed me with the sacred Naam and by your grace I have meditated upon it and become a knower-of-God, a brahm-gianee.” Guru Gobind Singh jee asked him how he’d reached this highest spiritual state? Pareh-hut answered, “When a woman came into my mind, I would say to my mind you belong to Guru Gobind Singh jee and I would shout ‘Get-Away - Pareh-hut!’ at the lustful thought. Whenever the thought of anger came I would shout ‘Get-Away - Pareh-hut!’ at the angry thought and tell my mind that it belongs to Guru Gobind Singh jee. So Guru jee, by your grace I’ve been blessed.” Guru Gobind Singh jee said, “O Great Sikh you understand this path, you obeyed the Guru while these other Sikhs just read the prayers again and again but don’t apply it to their lives.”

Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Bhai Dalla:

When Guru Gobind Singh jee had reached Bitinda he was met by Dalla. Dalla always had 500 men armed with weapons, he was always ready for war. He bowed to Guru jee and offered him a rifle. He said, “Kalgee-a-vala, guru jee adorned with the royal plume, I have heard that your whole family has been martyred by Aurangzeb. If you had called me to those battles, things would have been different.” Guru jee said, “Your 500 men that you are so proud of are just goats. Your words are empty. In my life I’ve had many hard times.”

The 40 martyrs of Chamkaur had meditated on God’s Name so much that each one of them had become the form of Guru Gobind Singh jee himself. Guru Gobind Singh jee said, “Dalla, I’ve had many hard times, my 40 Martyrs were starved for 6 months, now you are proud of your 500 goats!! Let me test your gun, send one of your men so I can test my aim on him!”

None of Dalla’s men came forward, but a Sikh father and son came rushing out, racing each other to become the target. The father said, “My body is old let me be the target son.” The son answered, “Father, all your life you’ve performed the service for the Guru, now let me perform this service.” Guru jee said, “I have Sikhs that fought against hundreds of thousands of Moguls!” Guru jee took the gun and aimed it high above the father and son. Dalla was amazed by the Guru’s Sikhs bravery. He fell at Guru jee’s feet and said give me a seat in Sach Khand. Guru jee said, “O Dalla, if you’d asked for a kingdom I could give it to you, if you asked for India I could give it to you, if you performed seva then I could give you Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu’s heavens, but Dalla I can’t

give you even a space as small as the eye of a needle in Sach Khand, God’s Realm of Truth. “Dalla jee asked, “But why?” Guru jee said, “Because you haven’t received Khanda-batta-da-amrit, you don’t belong to the Guru.” Dalla fell at Guru jee’s feet and said “Bless me with amrit, Guru jee.”

Guru Gobind Singh jee continued, “Receive amrit!” Dalla replied, “Bless me

Maharaj.” After receiving amrit and the 5Ks, he was renamed Bhai Dalla Singh jee. He went home, ate but he just couldn’t sleep because of the heat. He moved his Kirpan left and right. He thought, “Why did I go to the Guru? I wasted a gun and these 5Ks are annoying me too much.” On the following day, Dalla said to Guru jee, “The Kirpan and Kachera (short sword and shorts) were annoying me so I took them off, but now give me a place in Sach Khand.” Guru jee said, “Dalla Singh jee, don’t give up so easily, slowly slowly these 5Ks will start looking good to you. Remain disciplined as instructed in the Code of Conduct, the Rehat Maryada, and even previous generations will be saved.”

That night he couldn’t sleep. He thought, I could take the Kirpan and Kachera off again, so he did. On the next day, Guru jee asked him, “How was your night?” Dalla replied, “It was very hot and uncomfortable, so I took off the Kirpan and Kachera.” Guru jee said, “Don’t get disheartened, carry on making the effort.” That night he was incredibly hot. He had a dream, in it he saw Guru Gobind Singh jee taking him to Sach Khand. Along the way he saw the heavens belonging to Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, he also saw the countless heavens of Ram Chandr, Mohammed and Jesus, he thought, “WOW! Look how much peace and happiness there is here, leave me here.” But, Guru jee said, “Bhai Dalla Singh jee the place you are going is where none of these prophets reached. Dalla thought, “What have I done to become worthy of going beyond these heavens?” Guru jee said, “You’ve received Khanda-batta-daamrit,

you’ve become immortal.” When he saw Sach Khand’s door opening, he saw

light brighter than thousands of Suns. He never took his 5Ks off again.

In Bitinda state there happened to be a severe drought, all of the crops had died. A few days later Guru jee said to Dalla Singh jee, “Close your eyes,” when he re-opened them he saw mango’s and orange’s growing in the trees. Again Guru jee said, “close your eyes,” when he re-opened them he saw crops of wheat and maize. The third time he opened his eyes, he saw rivers where there had been deserts. Guru jee said, “Dalla Singh you didn’t obey my instructions, 3 times I told you to keep your 5Ks on but you took them off. Dalla Singh, if you had obeyed me the first time, then today you would had your dream fulfilled. But now future generations will learn from your mistakes and realise the importance of obeying the True Guru’s instructions.”