On Wednesday 14th August I was on a flight to the USA. As I came on board, I looked at my seat and saw an American lady sitting in the next seat and an American man sitting two seats away. I sat down and said "Hi" to the lady and the man. The lady looked at me and I could tell she was bit apprehensive and perhaps bit nervous to sit by me.
During the journey the American lady looked at the Khanda on my dastaar and said, "Excuse me, what is that you are wearing on your turban." I explained the meaning of the Khanda. "This is the symbol of the Sikh religion. The double-edge sword in the middle represents there is one God, the circle (chakar) represents he is never-ending and eternal. The swords on the side represent the social and spiritual struggle of a Sikh. A Sikh strives to fight social injustice and also fight the vices inside of himself or herself." I explained that Sikhs are Spiritual Warriors and fought to defend others. I explained about Guru Teg Bahadur Jee's Kurbani and the Sikhs struggle for social justice for all. Then I explained the inner battle is with lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment and ego. She was very impressed by the philosophy of the Khanda.
I then asked what religion she was. She replied that she was a Catholic. I asked if there were any Sikhs where she lives in USA. She replied, "Do all Sikhs wear the turban?" I replied, "Yes. To be a Sikh you have to have a turban and have unshorn hair." She said that she hasn't seen many Sikhs where she lives.
I started to ask why she went to England. She explained how her husband was a doctor and was now in hospital. She was quite upset and distressed by the state of husband. She asked what job I do. I explained and then she asked why I was wearing the clothes I am. I explained that I was wearing simple traditional clothes that are supposed to be modest. I explained that the hazooriaa was worn to show that we are the servants of God and striving to stay in the presence of God. She was very impressed and said, "I am glad I am sitting next to a Sikh today. I was feeling down about my husband. I think God wanted me to sit here and see a Sikh." Vaheguru!
She then asked about baptism. I explained, "In our religion, to accept the spiritual Path you have to get baptised. Baptism is a spiritual re-birth. You die and are spiritually reborn. You live, breathe, and serve for God." She seemed very impressed. I explained the significance of each of the 5 Ks and explained the four Kurehats (cardinal sins). She listened carefully and said, "That sounds really nice." She wondered why I was not eating on the flight. I explained the significance of the Kirpan and how I was separated from my Kirpan and so I wasn't eating. I then explained about Bibek. "We eat spiritual food prepared by spiritually disciplined people. When cooking food we pray and meditate, so that the food has positive energy." She looked at me and said, "Sikhs are pretty "Zen". You very optimistic and positive people. How do you do it?" I replied, "With the Guru's Grace. The Guru gives us strength throuhg prayer, meditation and discipline." The lady smiled. Later on she said, "Do you mind? I write an online journal. I have mentioned that I met a Sikh and written about Sikh religion." I said that is fine.
Dhan Hai Guru! Dhan Hai Teree Sikhee!