Monday, March 03, 2008

Sikhi Month Talk at Westminster University

On Thursday I went to London for the London Sikhi Month talk on the topic of Simran. I was running slightly (as usual!) and had to run to the train station (which wasn't easy wearing shoes!). With Waheguru's kirpaa I got on the train with 3 minutes to spare! The journey to London always seems to drag on and feels like a long time. It could be the fact that the trains going to London have tight seats with hardly any leg room! Chalo, I arrived at London Marylebone and had to take the tube to Oxford Circus.

Not living in London, one feels really overwhelmed with the number of people when travelling around London during rush hour. I arrived at Oxford Circus tube station but didn't have a clue where to go. It had been such a long time since I had last been there that I couldn't make out where everything was. It was also hard to think where to go when bombarded with smokers left, right, and centre! One can barely breathe, let alone try and think where one is going.

Eventually I got to Westminster University but it was the WRONG campus. Standing in the entrance of the building, I thought that there are no posters, no Singhs and no Panjabis? I went back outside and on the way met a Singh who pointed me in the right direction. Not many people turned up on time (other than dedicated students from Brunel university who arrived earlier than the time given!). By the time the talk had started everyone had arrived. Bhaji Brinder Singh from Germany, who was visiting England for 10 days, also attended the event. Bhaji is studying Physics at university and is active in doing Sikhi Parchaar in Germany.

Group photo with Bhaji Brinder Singh from Germany

Before doing the talk everyone was divided into four groups for group discussions on topic of Simran. This allowed everyone to have the opportunity to share their thoughts and viewpoints. Each group was given a question to discuss that they then had to present to everyone - (1) What is Simran? (What does Simran mean to you and when saying the word "Waheguru" what comes to your mind?), (2) Why do Waheguru's Simran? (Importance and benefits), (3) How to do Waheguru's Simran? and (4) What obstacles or problems one may face when trying to focus or do Waheguru's Simran?

Some photos from the event (taken by Bhaji Brinder Singh):

Group 1 discussing

Group 2 discussing

Group 3 discussing. (They look bit intimidating!)

Group 4 discussing. (This group had lots of ideas!).

Group 1 presenting. (Poor Bhaji was holding the microphone but it wasn't work!).

Group 2 presenting

Group 3 presenting. (Bhenji Pardeep Kaur from Kingston Uni covering her face with the paper! I wonder if that was part of the presentation?)

Group 4 presenting

There were some good vichaar. After everyone's group presentations, Daas went through what Gurbani says on Simran and the stages of Simran. The talk ended with a Saakhi from the Jeevan (life) of Baba Ishar Singh jee Rarra Sahib wale (1905 - 1975) which highlighted the importance of Seva and Simran in one's life.

After the talk, Langar provided by Singh Sabha Gurdwara Southall was served to everyone. It made a nice change to the standard Samosay which you get at all events. Uncle jee, who had come for the Gurdwara Sahib to drop off the Langar, couldn't find anywhere to park the van, so he waited inside the van outside the building till the end of the event. I think it might have been 2 hours! A very big seva! On the way home I went past the van and Uncle jee was sitting inside in such high spirits. He didn't mind waiting for hours till the end of the event. With a smile on his face he said, "as long as children are happy". Waheguru.

On the way back home I had to travel on the bakerloo line. Whilst standing waiting for the tube, there was an announcement: "The Barkeloo has been suspended due to a fire on the line. Please find alternative route." Waheguru. So I had to go to the nearest station, which was Baker Street, on another line and change lines. With Guru Sahib's kirpaa, I arrived at Marylebone station with 3 minutes to spare! As usual, I end up getting on trains huffing and panting because I have to hurry to get on before the train leaves. On the way home I had to try and keep awake because in the past I have fell asleep and missed the stop where I was meant to get off.

Note: Next London Sikhi Month talk is at LSE on Thursday 6th March. The talk will be on the theme of Sikh Women by a Sikh lady speaker.


jaad said...

Sst Sri Akaal and Ram Ram

I am Jawad from afghainstan who newly converted to sikhism and I am presently liveing in Delhi India as a refogee.
I am needy to helhp, I searched the evry gurudwara sahib in your site but I could not finde afghan people gurudwara in abroad such as EU , USA and UK.
In this case I am sinding this E-mail to you that your my compatriot and I hope that wiill help to to be in contact whit any afghan sikh.
if possebble please send contact E-mail address or phone # of one afghan sikh or thier gurudwara shib in your living city
your sincerely Jawad

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Waheguru Jee Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Jee Kee Fateh.

Bhaji, there is a very large Afghani Sikh community in Southall. They have their own Community Centre which is also a Gurdwara Sahib.

The contact details are below:

Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar,
Afghan Ekta Society,
67/73 King Street,
Southall, UB2 4DQ

Telephone number: 0044 208 574 4651

Hope that helps.

Guru Raakhaa

Anonymous said...

I would really like to know what kinds of answers were received in response to the question "what comes to your mind when doing simran and saying Waheguru?" as this is something personal to each individual yet what are we supposed to be visualising when we say "Waheguru" as Waheguru has no form???

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

(1) What is Simran? (What does Simran mean to you and when saying the word "Waheguru" what comes to your mind?),

The group that looked at what "Waheguru" or the "Simran" means to them "personally", came up with answers like "peace", "happiness", "still mind" etc.

It was looking at more of the emotions which people attach to the Word or "relate" to the word "Waheguru" or simran rather than saying people should visualise something.

Anonymous said...

What was the reply to the question. How can you do simran of "waheguru", if you don't know what "waheguru" is? Maybe next time you are at a simlar event you could do some recordings and upload them to your blog.


Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

How can you do simran of "waheguru", if you don't know what "waheguru" is?

Please read Mool Mantar, start Sehaj Paatth and start Santhiyaa (classes) of Sri Jaap Sahib. Gurbani holds all answers.

Vaaho Baani Nirunkaar Hai, Tis Jevad Avar Na Koe.