Arriving at the reception I met up with all the other Senior Students and introduced myself. They all seemed nice people and we chatted. Everyone was ready to go out now. The person who had organised the evening said, “Right we are going to the PUB for a couple of pints and then we’ll head down to the restaurant”. I thought, ‘Hey Vaheguru Jee, Eh Ta Pub Noo Jaan Lage’ (O Vaheguru, they’re going to the pub!).
I thought to myself how could I say to them that I don’t want to go the pub without sounding odd or UNSOCIABLE. Everyone was about to walk outside and then said, “Sorry, I won’t be able to go to the pub. It’s because of RELIGIOUS REASONS. Sorry, hope you don’t mind, but I don’t mind meeting you up at the restaurant.” They smiled back and said that’s FINE and that they’ll meet up at the restaurant in about an hour or so.
Going back to my room I felt a bit ISOLATED and awkward. My friends hadn’t come back to university yet and no one had moved into Halls of Residence yet apart from about ten people, including myself, who were working for the Halls of Residence. I recited my evening Rehraas Sahib, followed by Ardaas (standing prayer). The Ardaas has power. I am not talking in terms of Vaheguru answering your prayers but just by looking deep into the MEANING of the Ardaas, which we read.
The Ardaas starts (using English translation to explain):
In the Ardaas first we INVOKE the POWER and BLESSINGS of Vaheguru, then the Ten Gurus, and the Living Spirit of the Ten Gurus enshrined in the Divine Words of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee.
"There is one God. All Victory belongs to God. May the dynamic power of God help us. The Vaar (poetic verse) of Sri Bhagauti, composed by the tenth king. Having first involved the dynamic power of God, call on Guru Nanak. Then on Angad Guru, Amar Das and Ram Das, may they ever protect us. Then call on Arjan, and Har Gobind, holy Har Rai and on Har Krishan, whose sight dispels all sorrows. Then remember Teg Bahadur by whose remembrance the nine treasures come hurrying to ones home. Be ever with us O Masters. May the tenth king, Guru Gobind Singh be ever on our side. Let us now turn our thoughts to the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib, the visible embodiment of the ten Gurus and utter, O Khalsa jee, Vaheguru (glory be to God)."
We then seek power and STRENGTH in REMEMBERING the glorious deeds of the PANJ PIYAARE – who surrendered their heads for Guru jee, the FOUR SAHIBZAADE – the eldest two sons of Guru Jee valiantly fought and died in battle defending righteousness. The youngest two sons were bricked alive for refusing to give up their Sikhi at the age of 5 and 7yrs old, and till their last breath they kept in high spirits and cried the slogans of ‘Bole So Nihaal, Sat Sri Akaal’. We remember the CHAALEE MUKTE, the forty Singhs who deserted Guru Gobind Singh Sahib jee but then returned to die fighting for him. Remembering all glorious actions and deeds of such pure devotees we get strength. We get a feeling of 'WOW' – these people are great, they are inspiration and source of strength for us; hence we say, ‘Vaheguru’ (Wonderful Lord).
"The Panj Piyaare (Five Beloved Ones), the four Sahibzaade (sons of the tenth Master), the forty emancipated ones, the martyrs, the true disciples, the contemplators of God, and those who remained steadfast on the path of Dharma, remember their glorious deeds and utter O Khalsa jee, Vaheguru."
The Ardaas continues with:
If we think we have PROBLEMS or that we face SUFFERING, then we should THINK AGAIN. Reciting this verse of the Ardaas we are reminded of the COURAGE, determination and SUPREME FAITH of the Sikhs such as Bhai Mani Singh jee who was CUT LIM BY LIMB yet he never gave up his faith, Bhai Taru Singh jee had so much faith and a spirit of courage that he refused to have his hair forcibly cut and instead had his SCALP REMOVED. Bhai Mati Daas jee who was SAWN ALIVE on refusing to comply to the demands of the Mughal rulers to convert and to abandon the Sikhi of Guru Tegh Bahadar Sahib jee. We share the strength of these brave Singhs and Singhnian we remember them and we realise that we are BLESSED that we are here because of THEM and that we should always be in a state of mind of VICTORY.
"Those Singhs and Singhnian who offered their heads at the altar of Dharma (justice and righteousness), were cut up limb by limb, skinned alive, boiled or sawn alive, but did not utter a sigh nor faltered in their faith, kept the sanctity of their hair until their last breath, sacrificed their lives for the sanctity of Gurdwaras; who did not give up their faith and kept their long unshorn hair till their last breath, remember their glorious deeds and utter O Khalsa jee, Vaheguru."
Reciting the Ardaas and contemplating on it, I realised that I was worrying about TRIVIAL MATTERS. Finishing Rehraas Sahib, I went to the restaurant to meet the others. Everyone ordered meals, but I stuck to eating plain uncooked SALAD because I felt uncomfortable eating cooked food in a restaurant. However, thinking back now, I still felt uncomfortable with eating with intoxicated people and could have socialised with the others the next morning etc. Rab Rakha. Half of the people afterwards went back to the pub and half of them went back to Halls. I went back to Halls and rested for the night, knowing that Vaheguru and my Guru were ALWAYS with me.
ਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਨਾਲੇ ॥
gur merai sang sadaa hai naale.
My Guru is always with me, near at hand.
ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਦਾ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਲੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
simar simar tis sadaa samaale ||1||rahaao||
Meditating, meditating in remembrance on Him, I cherish Him forever. ||1||Pause||
By realising the BIG PICTURE, we realise how the issues in our lives can be so TRIVIAL and SMALL. From my experiences I have learnt to always have 100% faith in Vaheguru and always take the support of the SHABAD GURU. Gurbaani has all the ANSWERS and can answer ALL our problems.
During the summer, I went to a Gurmat Camp. At the camp students had an opportunity to take a personal HUKAMNAAMA (taking an order for guidance from Guru jee) with the help of a sewadaar. You wouldn’t believe it but the people who took part in taking a personal Hukamnaama realised that Satguru Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee is NOT ink and paper. But that VAHEGURU had spoken to them. Their heart and soul was touched by the personal message from Guru jee to them. This is the POWER of Gurbaani.
Realising that Vaheguru is always with us, we have nothing to fear.
Realising that Vaheguru does everything for the good of us, we realise that our stumbling blocks become our building blocks of life.
Realising that Vaheguru is everything and that I am nothing, we realise everything is Vaheguru and we enjoy the power and glory of the Supreme Being.