Monday, January 16, 2006

A Day in Southall

Today I went to Southall. I needed to buy a new mobile phone, so Southall's the best place with Panjabi bargains! Eventually got a phone. Afterwards I went to Havelock Road Gurdwara. There was really nice Keertan being sung by the Raagi Jatha.

The Shabad they were singing was:
ਮਨੁ ਨ ਡਿਗੈ ਤਨੁ ਕਾਹੇ ਕਉ ਡਰਾਇ ॥
man na digai tan kaahay ka-o daraa-ay.

My mind was not shaken; why should my body be afraid?

ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲ ਚਿਤੁ ਰਹਿਓ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
charan kamal chit rahi-o samaa-ay. rahaa-o.

My consciousness remained immersed in the Lotus Feet of the Lord. 1. Pause.
(Ang 1162, SGGS)
Read the Full Shabad

The Shabad was about how Bhagat Kabeer Jee was persecuted and tortured for not following the dominate religion of Islam and submitting the king of the time, called 'Sikandar.' The Brahmans disliked Bhagat Kabeer jee because he rejected the monopoly on religion, which they had over the people and the petty rituals and superstitions, which they propagated to enslave people's minds. On the other hand Mullahs (Muslim priests) disliked Bhagat Kabeer jee because he did not follow or accept the Qur'an or Shari'a, nor did he accept the authority of the Mullahs. Bhagat Kabeer jee strictly believed in the same religion as Guru Nanak Jee, which was Naam
ਨਾਮੁ (meditating on the One Infinite Lord), Daan ਦਾਨੁ (sharing with others and doing selfless service), Ishnaan ਸ਼ਨਾਨੁ(and keeping the mind pure with washing it with the 'Shabad' (Infinite Wisdom) and looking after the body, which is considered as the Temple of the Lord, through living a healthy lifestyle).

As a result of this, Bhagat Kabeer jee was punished by being tied up and thrown in the Ganga (the River Ganges). However, Waheguru, saved the honour of his devotee, as he has done in the past as well. Through the waves of the river, the shackles broke and Bhagat Kabeer jee was released. A deer skin floating in the river came to Bhagat Kabeer on which he sat. Everyone was suprised to see the man they thought they had killed, floating freely immersed in the love for Waheguru sitting on deer skin.

While I was listening to the shabad keertan, something BAD happened. I felt AWFUL. Waheguru! I noticed a little toddler (must be about 4 years old or something) going to do Matha Tekh. She had a bottle of milk with her. She placed the milk on the Golak (money deposit box) BUT THEN she TRIPPED OVER on the mat and smacked her head on the golak. WAHEGURU! I felt the pain she must have gone through! I felt so sorry for her!

Her grandmother came rushing and picked her. The girl did not stop crying! After being hugged and patted she quietend down, but I could still see from her face that she was in distress. I think she hurt her teeth. Bechaare KuRee (poor girl!).

Afterwards I went to Park Avenue Gurdwara. I came on good timing. Bhai Veer Singh jee from Delhi was doing Katha (lecture/discourse on Gurbani). It was weird (in a good sense). His voice was very mesmerising and there was pin-drop silence. From his face you could see a glow. The Katha was amazing and he was absorbed in singing. He also gave reference to passages from the Quran and said them in Arabic, which I was very impressed by.

It was a bit ironic that Bhai Sahib's Katha was on a shabad that emphasised on how God protects the honour of his devotees and looks after all His creation. Bhai Veer Singh jee shared two stories, which had a very good moral.

The first story Bhai Sahib said was from the Islamic world. It was a story of Abraham's life:
Abraham was a pious man. He did not eat his food, until he had fed a hungry person. One day Abraham came across an elderly hungry man. The man's beard was white as milk. He was a bag of bones and looked like he would appreciate being fed by him. So Abraham invited him to his house. The Baba (elderly man) accepted the invitation.

The meal was prepared and placed infront of the elderly man. The man got stuck in and jus as he put food in his mouth Abraham grabbed his arm. "What are you doing?" "I am eating!" replied the elderly man. "No! First we thank God who has graced us with food, then we eat." The Baba was upset. He said, "Has God fed me? If God gave me the food, he could have given it to me in the street!... I can thank you for feeding me, but I can't thank God for this. You have given me the food, so I will praise you, but not God." The man spoke ill of God and insulted the Almighty. Abraham refused to be praised by the man. "I am not feeding you. I am the slave of God. Through me God does his works." The man continued his insults to God.

Abraham had enough. For how long can you expect someone to put up someone insulting one's parents! So Abraham grabbed the man and threw him outside. The elderly man fell down the stairs and landed faced down in the street. Blood was pouring from his boney body and he had hurt his head. However, Abraham did not care! "How dare he be so ungrateful to God!" he thought.

That day when Abraham did Bandigee (meditation) and absorbed his mind into God's remembrance, God spoke to him. God said, "O Abraham! You invited the hungry man to your house to feed him in MY NAME, then you kicked him out and abused him in MY NAME. O Abraham, why did you do this? The man has all his life sworn at me, insulted me and bad-mouth me, however, I love all my children and till this day made sure he does not die of hunger. But you hear him for one day and chuck him out?" Abraham realised how Waheguru looks after all his creation, irrespetive whether they love him or not. Love is blind. Therefore, those who serve God through serving His creation, should also serve indiscriminately.

The second story Bhai Sahib shared was also from Abraham's life:
One day Abraham was walking and came across a lake of water, which had dried up. He realised that the animals which had wings to fly, flew away when the water dried up. However, those animals with no wings, i.e. the fish, ended up with the water till the water dried up. When the water went, the fish died with it.

Reflecting upon this, God made Abraham realise that be like the fish in the water. True love is that which you cannot live without. A relationship of a slave of God (Bhagat) and Waheguru is like that of a fish has with water. Just as fish cannot live without water, a devotee of God cannot live without Waheguru.

Gurbani says:
ਰੇ ਮਨ ਐਸੀ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਜੈਸੀ ਮਛੁਲੀ ਨੀਰ ॥
re man aisee har si-o preet kar, jaisee machhulee neer.
O mind, love the Lord Waheguru, as the fish loves the water.

ਜਿਉ ਅਧਿਕਉ ਤਿਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਘਣੋ ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਸਰੀਰ ॥
ji-o aDhikau ti-o sukh ghaNo, man tan saaNt sareer.

The more the water, the more the happiness, and the greater the peace of mind and body.

ਬਿਨੁ ਜਲ ਘੜੀ ਨ ਜੀਵਈ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਅਭ ਪੀਰ ॥੨॥
bin jal gharhee na jeev-ee parabh jaanai abh peer. 2

Without water, she cannot live, even for an instant. Waheguru knows the suffering of her mind. 2.
(Ang 60, SGGS)

Afterwards Bhai Jatinder Singh Noor-Puri's Dhadi Jatha came on stage for 30 minutes or so. The Sarangi Master was excellent. And the two Singhs playing the Dhad's had really good voices as well as played the Dhad really well. The Dhadi Jatha filled Bir Ras (uplifting energy) within the Sangat.
ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਚਟਸਾਲ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਸਿਖਾ ॥
satsangat satgur chattsaal hai, jit har gun sikhaa.
The Sat Sangat, the True Congregation of the True Guru, is the school of the soul, where the Glorious Virtues of the Lord are studied.
(Ang 1316, SGGS)

Going to the Gurdwara, Darshan of Guru Sahib, listening to Keertan, Katha and to top it off with listening to Dhadi Vaaran made my day! :)


ਿੲਕ ਿਸੰਘ said...

Sat Nam!
you're so lucky! you got to listen to such great Katha and Kirtan and DHADIS! i've never heard Dhadis in america. is this an average weekend at these gurudwaras? if so it just might be worth taking a quick trip across the pond!

Sat Nam!

deep kaur khalsa said...

vaheguroo...hanje pajee gurfateh jee...the katha was brill..

He is really good, never heard hin before but listening most of the week had a nice impact and soothing effect on the mind.

Can't wait for youth kirtan nx week...its been toooo long wait since xmas time :)!

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Bhenji Deep Kaur jee khalsa, you were fortunate to hear Bhai Vir Singh jee's Katha for most of the week :) I only had a chance to see him twice. His voice was very soothing and peacful. Plus he had a lot of gyaan (knowledge) about other faiths and scriptural texts (so he must do a lot of research for delivering Katha and memorising so many things!)

I am also looking forward to the Youth Kirtan next week :)

I love sitting in the Saadh Sangat in the presence of Guru Sahib, its like the feeling a small child has when he sits in the lapse of his mother :)