Monday, April 08, 2013

Teaching Sikhi to Dutch Children (Part 2)...

Author: Jaskarn Singh (Holland)

On Friday 22th March, I arranged for the school to arrive at the Gurdwara in Amsterdam at 11am. Everyone was really excited to come the Gurdwara. At 11am we got some unexpected visitors from the University of Nijmegen. A few teachers and students (10 people in total) came to explore the Sikh faith and the Gurdwara. We did not prepare for this, but we came up with the idea to let them join the school classes as well.

When the children arrived they were first shown the Nishaan Saahib and its importance was explained. When the children entered the Gurdwara, they removed their shoes, washed their hands and covered their heads. The 40 or so children were divided in three groups and each group would go to a different workshop for 10 minutes. The workshops were lead by the local sevadaars (Veer Vrinder Singh, Veer Ajinder Singh and Veer Bharatveer Singh). The idea was that we would switch after 10 minutes and that after a half an hour all the groups would have experienced all the workshops.

The first workshop Music and Meditation that was led by Ajinder Singh. He explained the importance of keertan and showed some video clips of children doing keertan. The second workshop Dastaar tying was led by Vrinder Singh and Bharatveer Singh and they explained the importance of our Dastaar and asked the children if they wanted a Dastaar to be tied on them. The third workshop was about the importance of seva and the different types of seva you can do in the Gurdwara like seva in the kitchen, bhandia di seva, joria di seva, cleaning or just helping out in the Gurdwara.

After the workshops everyone we planned to eat langar together. Before we could start with the workshops, we still had to do our metha theek. So before entering the main hall we explained to everyone how to behave and how not to behave. We discussed the special treatment we give to our Guru, the Shastars in front of Guru Granth Sahib Jee and that the Guru is the Word of God. We decided that the older group of students from the university could go to the langar hall and eat because they didn´t get the chance to hear a talk about Sikhi before. We planned that whenever the workshops are finished and the children are having langar, we would talk with the students from the university about Sikhi and they can ask questions.


I was so happy and amazed that so many children were wearing Dastaars! After the workshops the children started eating their langar, and then I gave the students of the university and their teachers an introduction to the basics of Sikhi. I think some of them were Atheist…. Waheguruu They told me that these were students which will become teachers who will teach religious education later on. I thought Waheguru sharing information about Sikhi with such relevant persons. Dhan Guru Jee

There was a really open and relaxed atmosphere which was really nice. I ended the talk with a quote of Betrand Russell talking about Sikhi "If some lucky men survive the onslaught of the third world war of atomic and hydrogen bombs, then the Sikh religion will be the only means of guiding them. When asked, isn’t this religion capable of guiding mankind before the third world war? He said, ‘Yes it has the capability, but the Sikhs haven’t brought out in the broad daylight the splendid doctrines of this religion, which has come into existence for the benefit of the entire mankind. This is their greatest sin and the Sikhs cannot be freed of it."

At the end there was time to ask questions. One old man asked me the question: "You showed a lot of positive aspects about your religion but just like every religion in the world, it must have its negative aspects as well. What are the negative aspects of your religion?" I was thinking in my mind that Sikhi has no negative aspects! But If I say that our religion has no negative aspects they might think of my as an arrogant or that I´m am probably hiding the negative aspects. So I said: (and these are just my personal views) "I think that the bad part is that our own community do not realize that we have a treasure right in front of us and we are too blind to see it."  I explained the issue that there are not a lot of our own people who are seriously try to practice our religion and we just take it for granted. Then I asked them the question about what part of Sikhi did they like? After a short silence again the oldest man said: "I really enjoyed the hospitality, equality and the practical way the Sikhs share". He then added: "Just saying ´we share everything´ is one thing, but you really practically showed us by sharing your food with us." (Waheguru Dhan Sikhi I can´t describe with words how happy I am that Guru Nanak Dev Jee is my Guru!).

An important note is that both the teachers from the school and the students from the University made a donation to the Gurdwara. When the children left they were given some chocolates and chips.

The time spent in the Gurdwara was around 2 hours and 15 minutes. Both parties were really happy being able to visit the Gurudwara thanks to Guru Maharaaj.

May Maharaaj bless us all with Naam, Bani, Seva and a good character.

Waheguru Jee Ka Khalsa Waheguru Jee Ki Fateh 


Thank you to Veer jee for sharing his experience.

Dhan Hai Guru! Dhan Hai Teree Sikhee!

1 comment:

Kaur said...

This is amazing, and I really liked veerji's answer to the question "what don't you like about Sikhi"...I agree with him, it is sad that many people are lost when they have such a beautiful and rare jewel in front of them.

Thank you for sharing your experience!!!! I have been wanting to tie a Dastar for a while, but I am having trouble getting is nice to see the children wearing the beautiful Crowns though =)

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!!!