This year I was blessed and fortunate enough to attend Melbourne Vaisakhi Smaagam in Australia. The Smaagam was definitely memorable and full of Guru Sahib's kirpaa. The Smaagam was well attended by both Amritdhari and non-Amritdhari Sangat. It was great to see that people from all different backgrounds enjoyed the Smaagam and felt pyaar in the Sangat. The Smaagam began on Thursday 17th April and ended on Monday 21st April.
The day would begin at 3.30am with Naam Abhiaas and Nitnem, followed by Aasa Ki Vaar keertan. Then after breakfast break a camp was held. In the camp there were discussions and talks for adults and elder children. The topics touched upon were the different historical occasions and events that take place in the month of Vaisaakh, Amrit and the Shaheeds of 1978. For the younger children a special class/creche was organised.
On Saturday, Bhai Amolak Singh jee from Sydney shared his first hand account of the 1978 Amritsar Massacre and the jeevan of Shaheed Bhai Fauja Singh jee, which was very mind blowing and inspiring. At 3pm there was Sukhmani Sahib jaap and from 4.30pm to 5.30pm there was one hour Simran on the Vaaja. At 5.30pm Sodar Rehraas was recited, followed by the evening Keertan Darbaar.
On Saturday night the Gurdwara Sahib organised fireworks display for the young children and Sangat in the car park. Although it can be seen as a waste of money, the positive thing is that neighbours and non-Sikhs in the neighbourhood become curious of what is being celebrated and also children get happy. On Sunday after Aasa Ki Vaar, a special Nagar Keertan was organised. I have been to many Nagar Keertans but this Nagar Keertan was really special. The Nagar Keertan was very short, and was just walking around the Gurdwara Sahib building outside. However, the whole atmosphere was just amazing. The Sangat was so well composed and focused, unlike normal Nagar Keertans were it feels more like a carnival or mela and a question of crowd control. The Keertan was mind blowing and then when the Nishaan Sahib seva was being done, it was just amazing. Giani Gurdev Singh jee and Singhs sat down and down such josh wala (high spirited) Keertan that all the Sangat I spoke to afterwards, including non-Amritdharis, felt moved and touched.
On Sunday early afternoon a special class was held for the younger children and they were given prizes. I was so impressed by the children. They were so well behaved and one child, who looked barely 4 years old, recited Basant Kee Vaar from memory. Vaheguru. After the children's class, a special class took place in the main Darbar Sahib. It was a 2 and a half hours session on testimonies of faith. Sangat were invited to come to the front and on the microphone share their personal story of either how their life has changed for the good since taking Amrit, or how reading Gurbani has helped them, or how they wish to take Amrit and seek blessings from the Sangat for their journey. The whole session was just amazing. Sadly, no one was there to record it! The testimonies of faith were just so inspiring. It was great to hear Amritdharis, non-Amritdharis and even a Veer jee who had cut hair, shared how Gurbani, Saadh Sangat, Simran etc have improved their lives. With Guru Sahib's kirpaa the session was so well attended and as a result of it, several ladies decided to start wearing Keski. One lady removed her nose ring, earrings and gold and put it her bag and asked for a Keski to be tied on her. She asked a question in the session that what should one do if they want to take Amrit but their husband doesn't want to. The power of Saadh Sangat and the blessings you get from Saadh Sangat - as soon as the lady got up and walked outside Darbaar Sahib, she rang her husband to tell him she is at the Gurdwara Sahib. Her husband said, "I have been thinking, what if we both take Amrit." She came to me straight away and said how amazing Guru jee and the power of Saadh Sangat is that her husband just rang and said he wants to take Amrit. So much kirpaa. About 30 or so people took Amrit. Vaheguru!
Sunday night was the Rainsbaaee Keertan till 4am. I always love seeing the Panj Pyaare and those who have newly joined the Khalsa walk into the Darbaar Sahib and the Sangat stands to greet them. The Panj Pyaare then did Keertan. One thing I noticed at the Melbourne Smaagam is that both very young children and teenagers actually sit in Darbaar Sahib and listen to the Keertan. Children didn't seem to waste their time. They seemed to have an excitement and hunger for Keertan, which was really inspiring to see.
Photos taken from GSK Fotos.
Dhan Hai Guru! Dhan Hai Teree Sikhee!